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Another White-Owned Zimbabwean Farm Invaded By Militants

A farm in the Zimbabwean district of Rusape, Manicaland province, has been invaded by militants led by self-styled war veteran Agatha Mugomba, who told the farm's current owners she has an offer letter from the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement.

Thousands of white-owned farms were invaded by war veterans and other militants starting in 2000 when the government of President Robert Mugabe launched a land reform program that most experts cite as the root cause of the country's precipitous economic decline.

Today only a few hundred farms remain in white hands, and many of those remaining have come under attack by pro-government militants in the wake of the March presidential and general elections, which gave rise to months of often deadly political violence.

After the militants invaded Masasa Plot July 29, farmer Gavin Woest and his family remained barricaded inside their home while the invaders sang revolutionary songs outside.

Woest told VOA he has been farming on the plot for 10 years and was surprised to hear that the ministry had given Mugomba a letter offering the property for acquisition.

Woest's lawyer, Leonard Chigadza, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his client is seeking a high court order to expel the invaders.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...