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Zimbabwe Soldiers Allegedly Beat Up MDC-T Youth Leader

FILE: MDC-T youths protesting in Harare calling for an investigation into the disappearance of protest leader Itai Dzamara.(Photo By Thomas Chiripasi)

National Youth Wing chairperson, Happymore Chidziva, of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai was allegedly assaulted by uniformed soldiers in Harare’s central business district Monday amid reports of a state-linked crackdown targeting opposition figures and human rights defenders.

Chidziva told VOA Studio 7 he had to be treated at a local clinic after he was allegedly assaulted by some unidentified soldiers who were travelling in a marked light vehicle.

The youth leader, who sustained bruises on his face and body and had a swollen eye, thinks he’s being targeted because he is a senior opposition figure.

When Studio 7 caught up with him following the alleged assault, he was yet to make a report to the police. Chidziva said the authorities should reign in security forces and agents whom he claimed are violating citizens’ rights.

Chidziva also claimed that the actions of the uniformed forces are now a threat to national security and warned that young Zimbabweans may soon be forced to retaliate.

National police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, said she was unable to comment on Chidziva’s case because the police are yet to receive a report of the incident.

Political analyst and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said President Robert Mugabe must ensure that members of the uniformed forces respect the country’s constitution.

The alleged assault of the MDC-T youth leader comes at a time when the nation is still guessing on the whereabouts of pro-democracy activist and former journalist Itai Dzamara, who was reportedly abducted by suspected state security agents in Harare’s Glen View high density suburb, on March 9.

Dzamara and his organization, the Occupy Africa Unity Square, are calling for President Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to run the country democratically and pushing Zimbabwe’s economy into the abyss.

Local civil society organizations and foreign governments, including the United States and the European Union are criticizing Dzamara’s alleged abduction while Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised that his abductors would be brought to book if apprehended.