Three members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who were allegedly abducted by state security agents in Harare on Wednesday have been found alive but badly beaten and traumatized, according to the opposition party.
MDC deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said Harare West lawmaker Joannah Mamombe and her colleagues Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, were dumped Friday by unknown assailants at Muchapondwa shops in Musana, Bindura South.
Tamborinyoka said the three were bruised and traumatized as they were allegedly forced to eat human waste by their assailants, who seized them while they were staging a public protest in Harare over the failure by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to provide food aid during the ongoing nationwide lockdown to curb the spreading of coronavirus COVID-19.\
“They are in very bad shape and they have told horrendous tales of torture and abuse. Hon. Mamombe and Netsai Marova are having difficulty in walking while Cecilia Chimbiri is complaining of severe head pains.”
Tamborinyoka said some MDC members, lawyers and police attended to the three in Muchapondwa before they were ferried to a Harare hospital.
“After receiving a distress phone call from the dumped cadres who had been accommodated by a sympathetic villager in Muchapondwa, a group of MDC officials that included Secretary for Welfare Maureen Kademaunga and deputy Organing secretary Hon. Happymore Chidziva immediately alerted lawyers and the police and drove to the area in Bindura South where they found the three cadres in very bad shape. They are heavily traumatised.
According to the party's rescue team that drove to Bindura with lawyers and the police, the three women indicated that they were first taken to Harare Central Police station after being "arrested”.
Tamborinyoka said the MDC activists were later taken from the police station by unknown assailants and driven away in a black Wish vehicle.
“The men who drove them away covered the ladies' faces with what looked like sacks. They remember being taken to a forest and being put in a pit where they were brutally assaulted. They are telling horrendous stories of abuse and humiliation that include being forced to eat human excreta … The ladies are still heavily traumatised and their clothes are torn.”
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was not reachable for comment as he was not responding to calls on his mobile phone.
Nyathi told the state-controlled Herald newspaper on Wednesday that police arrested some protesters on Wednesday, who were ferried to Harare Central Police Station. A few hours later police said they had no record of any arrests, resulting in a national and international outcry over the alleged abduction of the three women.