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Zimbabwe opposition turns to UN

Secretly filmed footage of alleged attack victims in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the United Nations and African Union to intervene in the crisis over his country's elections.

He told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that he felt African efforts to obtain the release of results had made "no progress", a UN statement says.

Mr Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change, believes he defeated President Robert Mugabe in the polls.

Video has emerged of MDC supporters being beaten up since the vote.

Human rights groups say they have found camps where people are being tortured for having voted "the wrong way". The government denies such allegations.

A recount in 23 out of 210 parliamentary seats which had been due to end on Monday was delayed for an unknown period.

The MDC has rejected the recount as illegal and insists it beat Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party outright in the 29 March parliamentary and presidential polls.

'No progress'

Mr Tsvangirai asked to meet Mr Ban in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, just before the UN chief left for Liberia as part of an African tour, UN spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

South Africa President Thabo Mbeki (L) and his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe in Harare on 12 April
The MDC have given up on mediation by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki (left)

The two met for half-an-hour, the UN said, during which the MDC leader "complained about the deadlock and the deterioration of the humanitarian and political situation" in Zimbabwe.

"He appealed for an intervention by the African Union [AU] and the United Nations since he feels there is no progress in efforts made" by the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), she added.

In response, Mr Ban again expressed "his deep concern that the situation still has not been resolved as well as his concern for the reported violence" in Zimbabwe.

He again called for "the release of electoral results as soon as possible" and promised to talk to the AU's chairman, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.

Video evidence

Post-election violence has displaced 3,000 people, injured 500 and left 10 dead, according to MDC secretary general Tendai Biti.

The BBC has uncovered evidence that Zanu-PF is behind attacks on Zimbabweans who supported the MDC.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at SADC meeting in Lusaka on 12 April
Mr Tsvangirai said the situation in Zimbabwe was deadlocked

The footage was smuggled out of the country to South Africa and verified by the BBC.

But Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa denied that anyone had died in political violence.

"Even people who have died of natural causes are adopted by the MDC (Tsvangirai) and the cause of death is subsequently attributed to state-sponsored violence," he said.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said that of the 10 people reported dead, only four names had been supplied and "of these three no basis whatsoever while the fourth is still under investigation and will be concluded soon", he was reported as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper.

A South African election observer monitoring the partial recount described the entire process as futile.

South African MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said she had seen evidence of tampering with ballot-boxes to ensure victory for Mr Mugabe and his party.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Monday accused Mr Mugabe of trying "to steal the election".

"No-one can have any faith in this recount," he added.

Mr Chinamasa said the opposition had no legal basis to dispute the recount.

The recount was a "legal right that is enshrined in [Zimbabwean] electoral law", he said.


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