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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 11:53 UK

Mugabe rival leaves Dutch embassy

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare, 27 June 2008
Mr Tsvangirai was arrested several times ahead of the run-off

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has left the Dutch embassy in Harare, where he took refuge last week, a Dutch official has said.

Mr Tsvangirai had decided the situation was calm enough to return home, the Dutch foreign ministry official said.

Mr Tsvangirai went to the embassy fearing for his safety, after pulling out of last Friday's presidential run-off because of election violence.

President Robert Mugabe, the Zanu-PF leader, claimed victory in the vote.

Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says he won the presidential election outright in March, but government officials said he did not secure enough votes to avoid a run-off.

The election has been widely criticised by Western leaders as not being free or fair.

But briefing journalists at an AU summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Mr Mugabe's spokesman said the West had no basis to speak about the situation in Zimbabwe and can "go hang a thousand times".

Growing AU pressure

Mr Mugabe is expected to address the summit later on Tuesday.

One of them grabbed my arm and flung me to the ground... They dragged me by my hair to where my husband was lying
Angela Campbell
Wife of Zimbabwe farmer

African leaders attending the summit have faced growing pressure to take a strong stand against Mr Mugabe.

Sierra Leonean President Ernest Koroma told the BBC he strongly condemned Zimbabwe's flawed electoral process.

"We believe the people of Zimbabwe have been denied their democratic rights," he said.

Mr Koroma expressed support for a South African initiative to encourage the formation of a transitional government of national unity.

"We would urge the South African group to ensure they engage both parties to form a transitional government that prepares Zimbabwe for fresh elections."

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga urged the AU to suspend Mr Mugabe until he allowed free and fair elections.

But Africa's longest serving leader, Gabon President Omar Bongo, said Mr Mugabe should be accepted as the country's elected president.

Meanwhile, the US has outlined a draft Security Council resolution calling for sanctions on Zimbabwe and Italy has recalled its ambassador to the country for consultations.

Sanctions call dismissed

In Zimbabwe, an elderly farmer, his wife and their son-in-law, were found alive but badly beaten on Monday.

Robert Mugabe at the AU summit on 30 June 2008
Robert Mugabe is due to address the AU summit later on Tuesday

Mike Campbell, 75, his wife Angela, 66 and Ben Freeth had been kidnapped at gunpoint from their Harare farm by a heavily armed mob on Sunday.

When they were found, Mr Campbell had concussion and a broken collar-bone, one of his wife's arms was broken in two places, and Mr Freeth had been beaten on the soles of his feet.

Mrs Campbell said a mob of Zanu-PF supporters had attacked her with sticks, just as Mr Mugabe was being re-inaugurated as Zimbabwe's president.

"One of them grabbed my arm and flung me to the ground, hence I have a rather serious break in my upper arm," she said.

"They dragged me by my hair to where my husband was lying and they trussed us up with ropes lying on the gravel."

A friend of the family said the Campbells had been forced to sign a document withdrawing an appeal against the seizure of his farm.

Earlier, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN dismissed calls for sanctions against his country over pre-election violence.

Boniface Chidyausiku dubbed US-led calls for fresh UN measures against Zimbabwe a "non-issue".

Asked about sanctions, Mr Chidyausiku told AP news agency: "I'm not even bothered, I wouldn't lose sleep over it... We are not a threat to international peace and security."

Mr Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in the presidential vote on 29 March but failed to win an absolute majority.

He reluctantly agreed to participate in the 27 June run-off but withdrew blaming violence which he said had killed nearly 90 of his followers.


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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
CNN Zimbabwe govt.: UK can go hang - 3 hrs ago
Los Angeles TimesZimbabwe dismisses calls for a unity government - 4 hrs ago
Denver Post Zimbabwe president's spokesman to West: 'Go hang' - 4 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Mugabe regime tells western critics to 'go hang' - 4 hrs ago
Reuters African summit debates Zimbabwe unity government - 4 hrs ago
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