'Very worrying': Diplomats slam latest Zim activist 'abduction'

2016-09-28 14:04
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Harare - Abducted, assaulted, injected with an unknown substance and left for dead: another Zimbabwe activist is being treated in hospital after what appears to have been a terrifying ordeal at the hands of as yet unidentified captors.

The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe said one of its officials, Kudakwashe Kambakunje was abducted on Tuesday night and found on a farm on Wednesday morning about 22km outside the capital.

Sten Zvorwadza said Kambakunje was "badly injured".

Photos of Kambakunje on a hospital bed, his legs scarred and lacerated, were posted to Facebook.

His abduction followed exactly the same pattern as that of Sylvanos Mudzvova, found two weeks ago after suffering the same horrifying ordeal. His captors had not been identified, and there had been no condemnation of what happened to him from President Robert Mugabe's government, which was clamping down hard on rising social discontent.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme tweeted that Kambakunje's abduction was part of "a worrying recent trend". Catriona Laing, UK ambassador to Zimbabwe called on the authorities to investigate, saying in a tweet: "Very worrying reports. Essential that #RuleOfLaw applies and alleged abduction/torture is investigated promptly by [the government of Zimbabwe]."

This abduction had not been independently confirmed.

Few in Zimbabwe have forgotten Itai Dzamara, an activist who mounted lone protests in Harare at the end of 2014 and early 2015 calling on Mugabe to stand down. He was abducted in March last year and has not been seen since.

The opposition maintained that agents of Mugabe's government were responsible, but pro-Mugabe state media has suggested Dzamara stage-managed his own abduction.

Zvorwadza, who has himself been arrested and beaten up by police for his dogged insistence on leading anti-government protests, said the abductions were "just wrong."

He tweeted: "Citizens, we must not allow our government to continue behaving in this manner unchallenged. We must re-think about what is happening to us."

Mugabe, 92, is facing an unprecedented wave of protests against his 36-year-long rule. They began in April with the launch of the #ThisFlag movement by Harare pastor Evan Mawarire. Mawarire said he wanted Zimbabweans to find the courage to confront the authorities over growing poverty and corruption. He is now living in exile.

In another report of alleged brutality from ruling party activists, the privately-owned Newsday said six supporters of ex-vice president Joice Mujuru were being treated at a private hospital in Bindura, northern Zimbabwe, after they were attacked at the weekend. Newsday has previously reported that ZANU-PF activists used "machetes and axes" in the attack in Guruve district.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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