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Zimbabwe: Post-election attacks appear coordinated

Regional leaders must condemn violence; electoral commission should release results immediately

Amnesty International is concerned that post-election violence in Zimbabwe is widespread and appears to be coordinated, with known and suspected opposition supporters being targeted.

With leaders of Southern Africa Development Community countries preparing for a 12 April emergency meeting on Zimbabwe’s political crisis, Amnesty International is calling on SADC leaders to redouble diplomatic efforts to avoid further deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe researcher Simeon Mawanza said:

“SADC leaders should come out and publicly acknowledge the human rights violations being perpetrated by security organisations, war veterans, and supporters of political parties - and insist on an end to the political violence.

“SADC should also publicly acknowledge that one of the causes of the increasing tension in Zimbabwe is the delayed release of the presidential election results. They must urge the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to immediately release the results.

“Zimbabwe has been allowed to operate outside the African Union and United Nations human rights frameworks for too long - reinforcing a culture of impunity in the country.”

Amnesty International is also urging the police in Zimbabwe to end political violence and investigate any allegations of police and army involvement in some of the incidents.

Violence has been reported in Harare, Mashonaland East, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Manicaland provinces, while victims of political violence have reportedly been pulled from buses and assaulted at their homes in rural areas, townships and farms.

In Gweru, on or around 6 April, soldiers reportedly assaulted people in a bar at Mkoba 6 shopping centre. Victims told local human rights groups that the soldiers were accusing them of “not voting correctly.”

On and around 7 April, soldiers assaulted shoppers at Mkoba 14 shopping centre in Gweru. The soldiers were reportedly in anti-riot gear and assaulted people with sticks.

At around midnight on 6 April, about 10 soldiers and two people dressed in police uniform arrived at the home of a known Movement for Democratic Change activist in Mkoba 14 in Gweru. They assaulted the activist and two of his friends by kicking them and hitting them with baton sticks. The activist sustained injuries requiring medical treatment. Although the matter was reported to the police, no-one has been arrested.

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