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The BBC's Ben Brown
The farm was set on fire
 real 28k

Chem Chimutengwende, Zimbabwean Information Minister
"Government people have been killed too"
 real 28k

Welshman Ncube, Movement for Democratic Change
"Our party activists across the country are being tortured and intimidated"
 real 28k

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy in Harare
"Playing the race card"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 22:40 GMT 23:40 UK
Zimbabwe violence escalates
Burnt house and truck
Squatters ransacked Mr Olds' property
A second white farmer has been shot dead in Zimbabwe as the troubled nation marked its 20th anniversary of independence.

On the same day, President Robert Mugabe referred to white farmers as "enemies of Zimbabwe" in an interview with state-run television.

Earlier, in a televised address to mark independence day, he took a more moderate tone, saying he was trying to broker a compromise to end the occupation of about 900 white-owned farms by war veterans.

You are now our enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe

President Mugabe
In a second version of the address, delivered in the Shona language, Mr Mugabe thanked the occupiers for moving onto the farms.

The United Nations said that although it viewed the occupations as a domestic issue, it would monitor the situation.

A spokesman said the UN deplored the violence, "and we believe that the differences over land reform should be settled by peaceful and constitutional means".


Farmer Martin Olds was shot dead early on Tuesday after being trapped on his farm in Nyamandhlovu, near Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo.

Martin Olds
Martin Olds died before help could reach him
The head of the Commercial Farmers' Union in the area, Mac Crawford, told the Zimbabwean Daily News that the government had been arming veterans in the region.

He said there had been numerous sightings of weapons, but offered no proof of the government's involvement.

Another white farmer, David Stevens, was shot dead at the weekend, and at least five opposition activists have been killed in recent weeks.

Farmers say the main road leading out of the capital, Harare, is now too dangerous for local traffic.

Bands of war veterans and squatters are reported to be roaming the area and the police are doing little to arrest those behind the violence.

Zimbabwe's information minister, Chen Chimutengwende, told BBC radio that the farmers should surrender the land confiscated from blacks by British settlers.

Asked if the government was concerned about the deaths of oppositon supporters, he said: "We are more worried about our people that have been killed as well."


In the English version of his speech, President Mugabe expressed regret for the deaths.

I want to thank you for the action taken in moving onto the farms

Robert Mugabe
But in his later interview, he attacked whites over their resistance to the government's land redistribution programme.

"Our present state of mind is that you are now our enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe.

"The entire community is angry and that is why they have the war vets seizing land."

In his speech, Mr Mugabe had said: "We understand the frustration of the veterans and the pressures on commercial farmers."

Mother and child on farm
Mr Mugabe did not ask occupiers to leave
He described the land issue as "the last colonial question", which must be resolved.

Opposition leaders said Mr Mugabe planned the occupations to boost support for his party ahead of parliamentary elections expected to be held in May.

No date has been set.

Celebrations cancelled

Zimbabwean television broadcast a programme of popular music in the run-up to the presidential address.

Many of the singers wore combat uniforms and brandished automatic weapons as they sang lyrics commemorating the struggle against white rule in the then Rhodesia.

But public anniversary celebrations were cancelled.

Mr Mugabe said the costs of the planned festivities were to be used instead to help the victims of recent floods.

BBC correspondent Jane Standley says an atmosphere of tension in Harare has overshadowed the occasion.

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See also:

18 Apr 00 | UK Politics
UK could take 20,000 Zimbabweans
18 Apr 00 | Media reports
Mugabe's anniversary speech - excerpts
17 Apr 00 | Africa
Farmer's widow wants justice
17 Apr 00 | Media reports
Mbeki to visit Zimbabwe 'soon'
18 Apr 00 | Africa
Mugabe address 'non-event'
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