The United States says it is seriously concerned about the excessive use of force by state security agents in Zimbabwe following a crackdown on local people who staged protests over the high cost of living last month.
In a statement, the U.S. Department of State said the government should engage all stakeholders and map the way forward after it promised to create a new Zimbabwe following the removal of Robert Mugabe from power in 2017.
“The United States remains seriously concerned about the excessive use of force by Government of Zimbabwe security forces since January 14, which has resulted in at least 13 deaths, 600 victims of violence, torture or rape, and more than 1,000 arrests. We extend our condolences to the families and friends of those killed or injured. The Government of Zimbabwe’s use of violence against civil society and imposition of undue internet restrictions betray promises to create a new Zimbabwe.”
The United States urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to address fundamental issues affecting the southern African nation.
“The United States calls on all sides to come together immediately in national dialogue. The dialogue process must be credible, inclusive, and mediated by a neutral third party. In order for such a dialogue to succeed, the Government of Zimbabwe should end its excessive violence and intimidation, immediately release the civil society activists who have been arbitrarily detained, and hold security force members responsible for human rights violations and abuses accountable. We also reiterate our call for the Government of Zimbabwe to enact promised political and economic reforms.”
Security forces have been accused of killing, raping and traumatizing protesters during and after the nationwide protests which were called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and non-governmental organizations.