Zimbabwe killing field exposed

2008-12-19 00:00

NEWS of gross violations of human rights has emerged from Zimbabwe, implicating the country’s defence force in a massacre at a small village outside Harare.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) of killing 83 people in Manicaland. It is alleged that 83 bodies are rotting at a government mortuary in Mutale city after they were shot execution style by ZDF for crimes related to illegal diamond mining.

The massacre is alleged to have happened in early November, but the ruling Zanu-PF has kept it a secret.

MDC leader in Mutare, Pishai Muchauraya, said the ruling party is behind the massacre. “Senior members of the Zanu-PF deployed armed forces in the area to kill people; it’s a gross violation of human rights. It’s genocide, these people were accused of illegal mining of diamonds, but they were never charged for the alleged crime or tried in a court of law … they were executed.”

The ZDF has written to the city council requesting permission to hold a mass burial for the dead. Mutale city council is led by the MDC and they have opposed the pauper’s burial.

“They are trying to give these people a pauper’s burial so that no one knows about this massacre. They are trying to hide this from the villagers, the media and everybody else.”

Muchauraya said the council has stood its ground on denying the mass burial. “It is unAfrican to conduct such burial; you cannot bury someone you are not related to.” He said the bodies cannot be identified because their identity cards were missing. “We believe they carried identity cards when they were killed,” he said.

Sources in the area told the Witness that the ZDF beat up Zimbabwe Republic Police, who tried to intervene.

“They told them to leave or die,” a local farmer said.

It is reported that the slaughter continued for three days. According to the source, the community and the police are too scared to move.

“They are unknown persons; families are scared to come forward to claim them, fearing the same fate … The stench is indescribable; power is off in Mutare for between 12 and 18 hours per day.”

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