Zim pressure groups threaten North Korean team

2010-04-28 09:05

The North Korean national soccer team, which is expected set up a training camp in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, before proceeding to South Africa for the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, could get more than it has bargained for.

Several pressure groups have reportedly held meetings to plan ways of disrupting the North Koreans’ scheduled stay in Bulawayo – including violent demonstrations.

North Korea trained President Robert Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade was used to kill thousands of Zimbabweans in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces at the height of political friction between Mugabe and the late Dr Joshua Nkomo.

More than 20?000 civilians, including women and children were massacred in cold blood by the North Korean-trained soldiers.

Now pressure groups and political parties in this western half of the country say they find it “extremely provocative” and “insensitive” that the government finds it fit to bring North Koreans to their provincial capital to set up camp to train for the World Cup.

Reports from Bulawayo yesterday said the pressure groups, one of which is called Ibhetshu LikaZulu, had lined up meetings for this week to strategise on how they would deal with the North Korean team. Qhubekani Dube, spokesperson of Ibhetshu LikaZulu, said: “These people helped to murder thousands of our kinsmen.”

There were reported efforts to engage the office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in an attempt to stop the North Koreans from going to Bulawayo but City Press was unable to confirm this yesterday.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) does not have an embassy in Zimbabwe but an official at the foreign affairs ministry told City Press that the two countries enjoyed diplomatic relations.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has literally begged the people of Matabeleland to try and separate sport from politics and also to allow national healing to take place.

The pressure groups have, however, vowed to go ahead.

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