SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Shocked By Military Brutality in Zhombe

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he learnt with great shock and concern about the savage beatings of MDC-T activists in Zhombe, by uniformed members of the Zimbabwe National Army last week.

The attack on the supporters left 40 injured, five of them seriously, when soldiers went on a rampage at Samambwa business centre in Zhombe, in the Midlands province. Tsvangirai said soldiers should not be terrorizing citizens who they are supposed to be protecting from external attacks.

The Premier, who was in Redcliff last week Friday for a meeting with the party's Midlands North provincial council, was briefed about the incident by the provincial chairman Costain Muguti. Many of those who escaped unhurt or with minor injuries made their way to Redcliff, where some of them had an audience with Tsvangirai.

Muguti explained that the attack seems to have united the people of Zhombe, who ended up providing the biggest number of delegates at the provincial council meeting.

'The people of Zhombe united and resolved that violence will not stop or deter their resolve to see change in Zimbabwe. Instead of staying indoors fearful of follow-up attacks, the people from Zhombe came in their numbers in Redcliff determined to show solidarity with their colleagues.

'So on the sidelines of the meeting, the Premier asked to be updated on the Zhombe incident. We explained in detail what transpired and he told us he was bothered to learn that soldiers can beat up people old enough to be their grandfathers,' Muguti said.

Two of the five people now admitted at the Avenues clinic in Harare sustained broken limbs and internal injuries in the unprovoked attack. They are 77 year old Peter Frank and 74 year old Phineas Madhlembwa.

Muguti said Tsvangirai told them such brutality by members of the military deserves a full investigation and their behavior cannot be tolerated at all. The soldiers who carried out the attack were guarding farming inputs for the Maguta project at the business centre.

Victims were made to lie down on the ground and bludgeoned with logs. Women were stripped naked and had their T-shirts burnt. 18 cell phones and wrist watches were also thrown into a fire.

'We are happy that five of our supporters at the Avenues are making steady progress, while some were treated in KweKwe and discharged. The majority of those who received minor injuries were treated at a local clinic in Zhombe,' Muguti added.

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