Calls for justice for Zimbabwe protesters shot after election

2019-08-02 15:08
(File, Tania Pehl, News24)

(File, Tania Pehl, News24)

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Zimbabwe's government came under fire on Thursday for failing to bring to justice soldiers who killed six people and injured dozens in post-election protests a year ago.

Soldiers opened fire on August 1, 2018 on unarmed demonstrators protesting a delay in the release of the July 2018 election results - fatally shooting six and wounding 35 more.

The shootings triggered international outrage and undermined the new administration's attempts to break away from the brutality of ex-president Robert Mugabe's rule.

In a statement marking the anniversary of the killings, Amnesty International said there was enough media evidence to identify the soldiers who used live ammunition on the protesters.

"If the Zimbabwean government wants to demonstrate that it is committed to human rights, it needs to ensure that the wheels of justice start turning faster than they have done over the past year," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa.

"The tragedy of the post-election shootings is compounded by the fact that no one in the army suspected to be responsible for the bloodshed has been held to account for these brutal killings," she said.

An inquest into the fatal shooting of the six people blamed the military and police, saying the use of live fire was "unjustified and disproportionate".

The Canadian embassy in Harare on Thursday tweeted, calling on the government "to fully implement recommendations of the ...inquiry".

US ambassador to Harare Brian Nichols said in a statement "unfortunately" over seven months after the inquiry report was released, government had done "very little" to apply the recommendations.

"I have yet to learn of a single soldier or security forces member held to account for the deaths of civilians as the report clearly mandated," he said.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from long-time autocrat Mugabe, went into the July 2018 elections vowing to revive Zimbabwe's economy, end cash shortages, mend fences with former western allies and lure foreign investors.

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Read more on:    amnesty international  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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