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Britain Imposes Sanctions on Zimbabwe Minister, Police Chief, CIO Boss Over Human Rights Abuses

FILE: Soldiers beat a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party of Nelson Chamisa outside the party's headquarters as they await the results of the general elections in Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 1, 2018.

The British government has imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe’s police commissioner, director of the Central Intelligence Organization, state security minister and former commander of the presidential guard, accusing them of serious human rights violations.

In a statement posted today on its website, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office the also imposed similar sanctions on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, noting that the restrictive measures were made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2018 (the Sanctions Act).

Police Commissoner General Godwin Matanga, CIO Director General Issac Moyo, Minister of State for National Security Owen Ncube and Zimbabwe Ambassador to Tanzania, formerly Brigadier General, Commander of the Presidential Guard and Tactical Commander of the National Reaction Force Anselem Nhamo Sanyatwe allegedly committed various serious human rights violations.

According to the British government, the sanctions “provide for the freezing of funds and economic resources of certain persons, entities or bodies involved in the commission of serious human rights violation or abuse in Zimbabwe, the repression of civil society and democratic opposition in Zimbabwe or other actions, policies or activities which undermine democracy or the rule of law in Zimbabwe.”

The Zimbabwean government says it is surprised about these targeted sanctions imposed on the four. Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Amon Murwira said the government has not yet received detailed information about the issue.

Human Rights Watch has welcomed the United Kingdom's move to impose imposing sanctions on top four Zimbabwean security officials accused of human rights abuses.

Their assets in the UK will be frozen and they will also be banned from visiting the country.

Dewa Mavingha is the Southern Africa Director with the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. He told VOA's Peter Clottey that a total overhaul of the political and security institutions in Zimbabwe will be key in ensuring the rights of citizens are respected and protected in the Southern African country.