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Zimbabwe Opposition Says More Activists Grabbed By Security Forces

The main formation of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said three more of its members were abducted in recent days, bringing the total missing to 23.

Officials of the MDC formation led by party founder Morgan Tsvangirai said activist Graham Matehwa of Makoni South constituency in Manicaland province was abducted by four armed men early Tuesday. Peter Munyanyi of Gutu North was abducted early this week at Uchinda business center, and Bothwell Pasipamire of Kadoma was abducted Dec. 12.

Zimbabwe Peace Project Director Jestina Mukoko and two of her staff also remain missing. Her organization compiled data on political violence and human rights abuses.

Attorney Alec Muchadehama, representing the Tsvangirai MDC wing, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he and other attorneys will keep asking the courts to find the police in contempt though the authorities ignore judicial orders.

Studio 7 Correspondent Safari Njema reported from Bindura, Mashonaland West, that security forces were cracking down on opposition supporters there following an alleged attempt to assassinate Air Force commander Perrence Shiri.

A number of MDC activists have been apprehended in Bindura, close to the location where Shiri was reportedly ambushed on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Political analysts and opposition members speculate that the abductions reflect an attempt by hardliners of President Robert Mugabe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party to intimidate the MDC against the backdrop of deadlocked negotiations on sharing political power.

Political violence mainly targeting Tsvangirai's MDC formation surged following the March 29 presidential and general elections in which Mr. Mugabe and ZANU-PF were defeated, and the Mugabe government eventually staged a runoff election in which Mr. Mugabe claimed victory following Tsvangirai's withdrawal over mounting deaths and injuries among his followers.

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