Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 13:28 UK

Zimbabwe violence round-up

Man who says he was beaten by ruling party activists

Zimbabwe's opposition says the government is "waging war" on its supporters in rural areas, while the churches warn of a possible genocide if violence continues ahead of a possible run-off election.

But the government says the scale of the violence has been exaggerated.

Here, BBC contributors say they have come across credible reports of intimidation and violence but not anything amounting to "war" or "genocide". Their names have been changed, as they do not have official accreditation.

David Farira, Mutare

Parts of Manicaland province have seen violent attacks on opposition supporters since the elections - mostly on the remaining white-owned farms in Chipinge and Mutasa South.

Some 600 opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters remain camped at the party headquarters in Mutare after fleeing their homes.

Opposition supporters in MDC party office in Mutare
These MDC supporters have been living rough for more than a week

They say they have been attacked by ruling party militias.

Many others are too afraid of having their house burnt down at night to sleep at home.

"We now have a situation where people sleep out in the open because they fear spending the night at their homes," said Reverend Stephen Maengamhuru, the regional official from human rights group ZimRights.

The violence, which people fear could worsen ahead of a possible run-off election, has led hundreds of people to flee across the border into Mozambique.

"There is a massive exodus of Zimbabweans going into Mozambique," Mozambican immigration official Boste Marizane told journalists in Manica Town, about 25km east of Mutare.

"What is happening is that these days there are lots of people crossing to Mozambique who do not return," he said.

Thousands more use illegal crossing routes on this porous border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Many Zimbabweans in this area have relatives across the border. An unknown number are already staying there illegally.

Police in Manica have tried to deter a wave of refuge claims, by warning that the Mozambican government was not giving asylum status to anyone because Zimbabwe "is not at war".

Naume Muza, Karoi

President Robert Mugabe's home province of Mashonaland West has seen some violent attacks on opposition supporters since the election and at least one person has been killed.

Local police have made several arrests after ruling party militants attacked MDC supporters in Karoi's Chikangwe high density surburb on Sunday.


Six opposition members were injured following the clashes that saw beerhalls and shops closed as early as 1900 by police, forcing everyone to remain in-doors.

The injured are seeking medical attention at Karoi hospital.

Although four ruling party supporters were arrested, police are still yet to arrest 10 more others who are on the run.

The suspects used empty bottles, stones and logs to beat their victims.

MDC official in Karoi, Biggie Haurobi said: "Our supporters are now living in fear following the retribution by Zanu-PF youths."

This outbreak of political violence comes just a week after the suspected murder in nearby Hurungwe of opposition activist Tapiwa Mugwandarikwa, who was stabbed by suspected Zanu-PF militants.

Eight suspects have been arrested but are yet to appear in court.

Meanwhile, some teachers who worked for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission have fled surrounding rural areas after being accused of preventing ruling party supporters from casting their votes.

The teachers say they were just ensuring that rules were followed - by refusing to let those without the proper documentation cast their votes.

Rodwell Chibanda, Marondera

Violence against opposition MDC supporters began on 1 April in Mashonaland East - a Mugabe stronghold.

To date the local party says four people - three adults and one five-year-old - have been confirmed dead.

When I pressed the police on why no arrests have been made, they say their hands are tied

These are Themba Muronde (59) of Nyamudandara Village in Ward 17 in Mudzi North constituency and Tatenda Chibika and Joseph Martin - both from Chidye Ward in Mutoko East constituency.

My police sources confirm the deaths of Chibika and Martin were due to political violence.

Themba Muronde's wife told me her husband's body was taken by Zanu-PF people and war veterans whom she knows.

An unnamed five-year-old died when a house he was sleeping in was torched by Zanu-PF supporters, the MDC say.

When I pressed the police on why no arrests have been made, they say their hands are tied because some of their bosses are connected to war veterans involved in torture.

I have personally seen burnt houses in Makosa and Nyamasoka areas under Chief Chimoyo's area in Mutoko East.

Shops belonging to MDC supporters have been shut down in Mutoko and Murehwa. Zanu-PF militias have set up bases in the the province and I have seen one at Corner Store - a popular business centre and rest stop on the Harare-Nyamapanda Highway between Murehwa and Mutoko.

I have spoken to victims at the Avenues and Dandaro Clinics in Harare, some of whom are not even MDC supporters but were brutalised after being suspected of supporting MDC.

According to MDC provincial organising secretary Kubvoruno Choga about 20 MDC activists are missing and feared killed.

He says the Zanu-PF militia are being assisted by members of the armed forces deployed on 8 April - torching people's house, killing their livestock and destroying crops as well as beating up people.

Mr Choga says about 500 families have been displaced and some in areas such as Mutoko and Mudzi have fled to neighbouring Mozambique.

About 400 homes have been burnt and more than 100 people have been hospitalised in Harare - attacked by the militias, some with broken legs and hands.

MDC losing candidate Jimmy Jombo Charohwa says police have not made any arrests - but they have forced people to chant Zanu-PF slogans.

Peter Tinona, Harare

The capital has been relatively peaceful as most people here support the opposition. However, they are getting very anxious as the wait for the presidential results continues.

Secretly filmed footage of alleged attack victims in Zimbabwe

Some MDC activists have been arrested, accused of violence during last week's strike.

Scores of opposition activists have come to the hospital from around the country to seek hospital treatment.

On Saturday, 36-year-old Dominic Chirapa, (not his real name) was beaten up in Glen Norah high density suburb when he was caught filling his car with petrol.

He said they accused him of trying to prepare a petrol bomb.

Owen Chikari, Masvingo

Opposition supporters have been targeted in parts of Masvingo province, especially in rural seats which Zanu-PF lost. Some of those are now being recounted.

The opposition MDC claims that over 100 people, mostly its polling agents, have fled their homes after being attacked by suspected ruling Zanu-PF activists.

The retribution exercise by suspected members of the army and graduates from the National Youth Service popularly known as "green bombers" have made rural parts of Bikita South, Zaka West and Masvingo North no-go areas for the opposition.

I am not going back to my rural home because I fear for my life

Mike Maungwa
MDC election agent

Sarah Mponda from Zishumbe area in Masvingo North constituency said she was severely beaten by unknown people deployed in the area by the ruling party.

"They came to my house in the evening on Sunday night and they assaulted me heavily, accusing me of supporting the opposition MDC," she said.

"I sustained a broken rib and I am experiencing chest pains since the beatings".

Mike Maungwa, an MDC election agent during the polls in Bikita South, said he has since fled after he was attacked by suspected ruling party militants.

"I am not going back to my rural home because I fear for my life," he said. "The chief and war veterans in the area assaulted me soon after the election and ordered me to leave the area".

"I will only return to my rural home when the situation improves".

Squadie Chimenya of Guni in Gutu South constituency also said he has fled his rural home to seek refugee in Masvingo city.

"A group of 10 people came to my house at night and abducted me," said Mr Chimenya, who had visible injuries all over his body.

"They made me lie on my stomach and then they took turns to beat me up with logs until they left me for the dead".

MDC official Matthew Dondo said that the party was sending about 25 people from Masvingo province to Harare for medical treatment.

Police in Masvingo have confirmed the disturbances, adding that they have since deployed riot police to deal with the situation.

Officer commanding Masvingo province, Assistant Commissioner Mhekia Tanyanyiwa said 90 case of political violence had been reported since the 29 March elections.

"So far we have arrested 10 in connection with these reports but I cannot divulge which political parties they belong to."

Joel Gore, Hwange

The western Matabaleland region has seen less violence than elsewhere but the opposition still complains of intimidation ahead of a possible run-off in the presidential election.

Senatorial candidate for Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC in Umguza, Moses Sivalo, and four other party supporters were beaten by Zanu-PF supporters at Trenance last Friday.

Mr Sivalo, who was hospitalised for three days at Gallan House private hospital in Bulawayo, said he was attacked at his home while the others were attacked in different places.

He said the assailants tried to attack his wife, for wearing an MDC T-shirt, but she ran away and her whereabouts are still unknown.

Mr Sivalo also said that seven Zanu-PF youths led by a retired policeman have established a base just 800 metres from his home. He said his children and other villagers now lived in fear as police had failed to take action over the first incident.

A woman sustained a broken hand after she and other villagers in Nyamandlovu business centre were attacked by Zanu-PF youths and war veterans on Friday morning for allegedly voting for MDC.

Eight polling agents for Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC in Nkayi centre in Nkayi South constituency fled to Bulawayo on Friday after they were attacked by soldiers and police.

The three women and five men have been assisted at party offices in Bulawayo and are now staying with relatives in the town.

War veterans, Zanu-PF youths and villager elders from Lubangwe, Madumabisa and other villages in the Matesti area are moving around, taking statistics of how many had registered as voters.

The villagers said it is not yet known how the information will be used and some feared that they might be accused and attacked for voting for the MDC.

Themba Nkosi, Bulawayo

Bulawayo has long been seen as a hotbed of opposition support, so Zanu-PF officials are not that concerned that it lost in this area.

Nevertheless, several people have been hospitalised after they were allegedly attacked by soldiers in the townships.

I am a respected leader. How can I be accused of running gangs of thugs?
Obert Mpofu
Trade minister

Nkululeko Ncube said soldiers confronted him while walking with his friend at about 2000 in Njube township.

"They stopped us and asked why we were walking at night. They then accused us of organising attacks against Zanu-PF and one of the soldiers kicked me in the stomach while my friend fled," he said.

In Filabusi, in Matabeleland South province, the new senator for the area, Siyabonga Malandu Ncube told me two village heads have fled the area after they received letters from so-called war veterans threatening to attack their families.

According to the senator, the war veterans accused the village heads, who are paid monthly government allowances, of failing to campaign for Zanu-PF and instead told villagers to vote for the opposition.

In Lupane, six villagers claimed they were beaten up by youth militias in the company of soldiers.

"Soldiers are patrolling our villages, as if we are back in the days of Gukurahundi [an anti-dissident operation in the early 1980s], said villager Thobekile Sibanda of Dandanda village.

War veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda denied charges that he was involved in the violence in his home area of Nyamandlovu.

"These are MDC lies to impress their friends in the West. I have not been to Nyamandlovu area since 2006," he said.

Trade and Industry Minister Obert Mpofu also denied charges he was behind attacks on opposition supporters.

"I am a respected leader. How can I be accused of running gangs of thugs?" he asked.

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