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WOZA leader arrested and held overnight at Bulawayo Central - News and updates
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
September 18, 2007

WOZA leader, Magodonga Mahlangu was arrested this morning at 8am in Bulawayo having come into town to do shopping. She has been held all day in the Law and Order section of Bulawayo Central Police Station and it is now clear that she will be held overnight. On arriving at Central, Mahlangu was served with a summons for a court appearance on 27th September. She was also told that the bosses of Law and Order wanted to question her. She has not been charged however and as she was being held in the same room as ZCTU members, it is suspected that her arrest and detention is linked to the planned ZCTU strike on 19th and 20th September.

Human rights lawyers were in attendance through the day and reported that she is in good spirits. There is concern for her well being however given the various death threats made against her in the recent past and given the brutal beatings that ZCTU members received yesterday in Harare.

News update
Wednesday 19th - 10am

Mahlangu remains in custody - at Figtree - still not charged

Magodonga Mahlangu remains in custody this morning. She still has not been charged. On arriving at Bulawayo Central this morning to bring her breakfast, the support team were informed that she spent the night at Figtree Police Station, approximately 40km from Bulawayo. She was allowed access to her lawyer at Figtree this morning and is unharmed, although has received several death threats from officers in the Law and Order section at Bulawayo Central. Those who were responsible for the battering and disappearance of her dog are threatening that she will meet the same fate as Snowy. It is still unclear as to why she has been arrested.

Reports have come in that two other WOZA members were also arrested this morning. Again it is not clear why they were picked up.

More news will be made available as it emerges.

News update
Wednesday 19th - 2pm

Mahlangu and 2 others released - charged with malicious damage to property

All three WOZA members arrested yesterday, including Magodonga Mahlangu, were finally released at 1pm today. They have been charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act - section 140 - malicious damage to property and section 143 (b) - ' the crime of malicious damage to property or negligently causing serious damage to property is committed against property that is owned, possessed or controlled by the State, a statutory corporation or a local authority.' These charges are as a result of recent calls to choose love over hate that have appeared on roads in the western suburbs of Bulawayo. There is no evidence whatsoever to link any of the three arrested with the road markings however.

The two other members arrested, Rosemary Siziba and Sitshiyiwe Ngwenya, were picked up from their homes late last night and taken to Donnington Police Station, where they were held until lunch today. Rosemary Siziba was with her one and a half year old daughter.

None of the members were physically harmed but Law and Order officers Ngwenya, Mathonsi and Mutyayambidzi threatened Mahlangu with death whilst still in Bulawayo Central Police Station; telling her that she would meet the same fate as her dog, Snowy, which was battered to death by police officers during a raid on Mahlangu's home in recent weeks.

In the last week, police have raided and searched the homes of two other members looking for paint, although they did not find any in either home.

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