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Harare High Court Orders Police To Help Locate Missing Rights Activist

Yet another member of Zimbabwe's democratic opposition has been abducted by apparent members of the state security apparatus, while lawyers for missing rights monitor Jestina Mukoko, seized a week ago Wednesday, obtained a court order telling police to help find her.

Sources in the Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that Tsvangirai’s former personal assistant, Ghandi Mudzingwa, was grabbed late Monday by armed men who were believed to be state security agents.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported from Harare.

Lawyers seeking Mukoko’s release presented arguments in the Harare high court and Justice Anne Marie Gowora handed down an order compelling the commissioner general of police to help lawyers and relatives locate the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project.

The court ordered advertisements to be placed in all state newspapers and broadcast media, and that when found, Mukoko should immediately be brought to court by the authorities.

Observers voiced concern that the surge in abductions or extra-judicial seizures looks like a tactic by security forces to instill fear among the opposition and civil society activists.

Political analyst Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development said he finds it worrisome that the abductions are taking place with no elections in store.

Maguwu told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the objective of the kidnappers may be to cause opposition leaders to flee the country, clearing the way for President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF to unilaterally form a government.

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