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Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Farrakhan backs Zimbabwe land grab
US Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan
The controversial leader offered his support to Mugabe
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the US Nation of Islam organisation, has backed Zimbabwe's controversial land reform programme at the start of a three-day visit to the troubled country.

Robert Mugabe
Mugabe's government has targeted about 95% of white-owned lands for confiscation

Mr Farrakhan told the state-owned Herald newspaper that he was in "full support" of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's policies "as it was aimed at correcting a historical injustice".

The paper in turn praised Mr Farrakhan for his "stance against Western manoeuvres to undermine the sovereignty of Zimbabwe," the Associated Press news agency reported.

The controversial leader arrived in Zimbabwe on Saturday from South Africa, where he had attended the launch of the new African Union.

Mugabe meeting

His trip was in defiance of the US authorities, who have imposed sanctions against Mr Mugabe's regime which is accused of rigging the country's elections in March and intimidating political opponents.

Mr Farrakhan, known for his controversial opinions on race relations and notorious for alleged anti-Semitic comments, is scheduled to meet Mr Mugabe later on Saturday, French news agency AFP reported.

Banned from entering Britain, Mr Farrakhan recently travelled to Iraq in what he said was a bid to avert war between the country and the US.

Mr Mugabe's government has targeted about 95% of white-owned farms for confiscation after passing laws giving farmers 45 days to halt work on the land and then 45 days to leave the property.

But the farmers, along with economists and foreign donors, say that the land redistribution programme will worsen the country's food crisis.

Mr Mugabe counters that giving land to poor black families will increase living standards.


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11 Jul 02 | Africa
15 Mar 02 | Newsmakers
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24 Jun 02 | Africa
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