denies role in police bombings
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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
March 15, 2007
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HARARE - Zimbabwe's
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has distanced itself
from the bombing of a police camp in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday,
while some rights activists are suggesting that unrest is mounting.
Three female police
officers were injured and their property burnt at the Marimba police
camp, which consists of a police station and residential quarters,
in the populous suburb of Mufakose, an MDC stronghold. State television
and the official daily newspaper, The Herald, reported that assailants
cut the boundary fence before throwing teargas canisters and petrol
bombs into the lodgings.
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena told IRIN that the attack
was the work of "militant youth" of the MDC's "democratic resistance
both factions of the MDC scoffed at the claims. "We wonder where
they got that kind of information from. There is no evidence at
all that the perpetrators of the violence were members of the opposition.
Where would ordinary people get teargas from, unless they are suggesting
that some members of the police and army are MDC?" said Job Sikhala,
a member of parliament, and defence and security secretary of one
"MDC members will
not perpetrate such acts of violence," said Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman
for the other faction.
a coordinator at Crisis
in Zimbabwe, a coalition of more than 300 civil society organisations,
said the attack on the police station meant that people's patience
with the government was running out.
into the gross abuse of human rights, and this is what we have been
seeing in the past weeks as the police moved in to thwart gatherings
by legitimate citizens of this country, arresting and torturing
them. They are becoming disillusioned with the police force, which
is supposed to protect them, and the swelling tide of anger is evident,"
Mafume told IRIN.
He urged the police
to desist from using excessive force against the people, saying
this would only lead to more violence.
In the past few
weeks Zimbabwe has witnessed running battles between the police
and MDC supporters. In the third day of unrest on Tuesday, another
bombing of a police station was reported in Gweru, 200km north of
Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo.
Besides the two
bombings, The Herald reported that four other suspected opposition
supporters were arrested in Masvingo, in the southeast, the country's
oldest town, for allegedly beating up street vendors and a soldier.
Earlier in the
week, an opposition leader was shot dead by the police and scores
of MDC leaders and supporters arrested, drawing worldwide condemnation.
On Thursday, the parliament of the regional powerhouse, South Africa,
passed a motion expressing concern over the situation in Zimbabwe.
Tension has been
mounting in Zimbabwe for the past two months: NGOs, church groups,
labour and students have all staged sporadic demonstrations around
the country as Zimbabweans battled with annual inflation now running
at more than 1,700 percent, compounded by shortages of foreign currency,
food, fuel, electricity and medicines.
have been living in fear since the Marimba attack. An officer attached
to the intelligence gathering internal security department at Marimba
police station, who did not wish to be named, told IRIN that the
authorities were working out the logistics to ensure the security
of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
"There is a lot
of anxiety, as we don't know who will be the next target. People
are growing increasingly angry with the police and army, as they
say we are being used by the government to beat them up, yet we
will simply be carrying out orders," said the officer.
He said police
patrols had been advised not to move around alone and to avoid bars
in areas known to be volatile. There has been speculation in the
media that a state of emergency might be imposed.
dismissed the reports. "The situation in the country is calm and
does not warrant the imposition of emergency. People are going about
their daily business."
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