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  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • Zimbabwe begins moving clean-up victims 'living like animals' to rural homes
    August 26, 2005

    VICTORIA FALLS -- Police in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Thursday began moving to their rural homes hundreds of victims of a controversial government clean-up exercise who were said to be 'living like animals' in the bush after their homes were destroyed.

    The majority of the evicted residents who were from the sprawling Baghdad and Kinshasa informal settlements were said to be living dangerously at the mercy of wild animals such as lions and elephants which roam on the periphery of the resort town since the demolition of their shanty homes.

    The police said they were moving the people, some of whom had sought shelter in the bush as well as in churches and industrial buildings in the town, to their rural homes.

    A pastor who was caring for the displaced families in the town, Stanford Thembo Ndlovu said: "Most of them have lived like wild animals since the demolitions of their houses and we as the church are glad to see them going home.

    "We are working with the police to transport those who are willing and as they leave, we give then a package of relief aid that will cover them for the first two months when they arrive in their respective areas."

    Matabeleland North Police spokesperson Mavis Marufu said the repatriation exercise would continue in the next week.

    The Zimbabwe government two months ago demolished thousands of houses and shanty homes in a campaign President Robert Mugabe said was meant to restore the beauty of cities and towns.

    But the United Nations in a hard-hitting report compiled by special envoy Anna Tibaijuka strongly chastised the Zimbabwe government over the demolitions calling the exercise an "assault on the rights of the poor."

    The UN said at least 700 000 people had been rendered homeless through the exercise which also closely affected another 2.4 million people throughout the country.

    Mugabe's government has since rejected the UN report alleging bias on the part of the world body's envoy. - ZimOnline

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