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Security forces not taking chances with MDC in Chitungwiza

Zimbabwe’s security forces were not taking any chances in Chitungwiza because it had become the largest potential hotbed for anti-government demonstrations in the country, the United States embassy said.

Heavily armed police were reported to have raided homes, beat up residents and broken up gatherings in the area.

One police officer was reported to have told a local daily that they were under instructions not to allow Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai to address any gathering in the dormitory town.

“The police attacks against MDC youth indicates that the government is not waiting for the MDC to organize in Chitungwiza, and is doing everything in its power to prevent any kind of anti-government unrest from spinning out of control,” the embassy said.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 01HARARE917, ZIMBABWE POLICE INTENSIFY ATTACKS ON HIGH-

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

01HARARE917

2001-03-05 15:01

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

051501Z Mar 01

 

 

UNCLASSIFIED     PTQ2293

 

PAGE 01       HARARE 00917 051503Z

ACTION AF-00

 

INFO LOG-00   NP-00   AID-00   AMAD-00 ACQ-00   CIAE-00 INL-00

DINT-00 DODE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00   EB-00   EUR-00   FBIE-00

UTED-00 VC-00   H-01     TEDE-00 INR-00   IO-00   JUSE-00

LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01   NSAE-00 OIC-02   OMB-01

OPIC-01 PA-00   PM-00   PRS-00   ACE-00   P-00     SCT-00

SP-00   IRM-00   SSO-00   STR-00   TEST-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00

PMB-00   DSCC-00 PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00 SAS-00

/010W

——————CDC0E0 051503Z /38

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8351

INFO NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

UNCLAS HARARE 000917

 

SIPDIS

 

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR CHARLES GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS

 

NAIROBI FOR TERRY PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

UNCLASSIFIED

 

PAGE 02       HARARE 00917 051503Z

TAGS: PHUM PGOV PINS ZI

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE POLICE INTENSIFY ATTACKS ON HIGH-

DENSITY SUBURB RESIDENTS

 

 

SENSITVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT FOR

INTERNET POSTING.

 

1. (U) SINCE MID-FEBRUARY, HEAVILY ARMED POLICE HAVE

RAIDED HOMES, BEAT RESIDENTS, AND BROKEN UP LARGE

GATHERINGS IN ST. MARY’S DISTRICT OF CHITUNGWIZA, THE

SPRAWLING TOWNSHIP 30 KM SOUTH OF HARARE, ACCORDING TO

PRESS REPORTS. THE MARCH 5 EDITION OF THE INDEPENDENT

“THE DAILY NEWS” REPORTED THAT HUNDREDS OF POLICE

DESCENDED ON A GATHERING OF 3,000 ASSEMBLED TO HEAR MDC

PRESIDENT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI COMMEMORATE THE OPENING OF A

NEW MARKETPLACE ON MARCH 3. TSVANGIRAI CANCELLED HIS

SPEECH AFTER HEAVILY ARMED POLICE TORE INTO THE PEACEFUL

CROWD UNPROVOKED AND BEAT THEM WITH BATONS. THE POLICE

REPORTEDLY FOLLOWED FLEEING PEOPLE INTO SUPERMARKETS TO

CLUB THEM, AND BEAT COMMUTERS DISEMBARKING FROM A NEARBY

BUS STAND. ACCORDING TO THE NEWSPAPER, ONE OF THE

POLICE OFFICERS ON THE SCENE STATED: “WE ARE UNDER

INSTRUCTIONS FROM OUR SUPERIORS NOT TO ALLOW TSVANGIRAI

TO ADDRESS RALLIES IN CHITUNGWIZA. WE WILL MAKE SURE

THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN.”

 

2. (U) THESE REPORTS FOLLOW A STORY IN THE MARCH 1

EDITION OF “THE DAILY NEWS” THAT REPORTED REGULAR POLICE

RAIDS ON THE SUSPECTED HOMES OF MDC YOUTHS IN ST. MARY’S

DISTRICT. IF THE YOUTHS ARE NOT FOUND AT THEIR PARENTS’

HOMES, THE PARENTS ARE BEATEN. THE ARTICLE DESCRIBED A

UNCLASSIFIED

 

PAGE 03       HARARE 00917 051503Z

POLICE, ARMY AND CIO CAMPAIGN OF TERROR THAT HAS FORCED

MORE THAN 100 MDC YOUTHS TO SLEEP “IN THE BUSH” BECAUSE

THE SECURITY FORCES ARE CONSTANTLY PURSUING THEM. MANY

OF THOSE BEING PURSUED HAVE BEEN ARRESTED ON TRUMPED-UP

CHARGES AND TORTURED A NUMBER OF TIMES BEFORE, ACCORDING

TO “THE DAILY NEWS.” ST. MARY’S IS ALSO THE DISTRICT OF

JOB SIKHALA, THE MDC PARLIAMENTARIAN WHO IN THE LAST

MONTH HAS BEEN BEATEN IN HIS HOME AT LEAST ONCE AND

ESCAPED FROM UNKNOWN ASSAILANTS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE

NIGHT ON ANOTHER OCCASION.

 

3. (SBU) POLOFF CONTACTED AMANI TRUST DIRECTOR TONY

REELER (PROTECT) MARCH 5 ABOUT THE CHITUNGWIZA

INCIDENTS. HE DID NOT HAVE CASUALTY FIGURES FOR THE

RIOT SQUAD ATTACKS ON MARCH 3, EXPLAINING THAT HIGH-

DENSITY SUBURB RESIDENTS ARE AFRAID TO REPORT INCIDENTS

OF VIOLENCE TO THE POLICE, OR EVEN TO HOSPITAL STAFF WHO

TREAT THEM. MANY OTHERS DO NOT SEE MUCH POINT IN

REPORTING BEATING INCIDENTS BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE POLICE

WILL NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT THEM, REELER STATED. THE

ATTACKS IN CHITUNGWIZA HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR WEEKS,

REELER POINTED OUT.

 

4. (SBU) COMMENT: ZIMBABWEAN SECURITY FORCES ARE

CLEARLY TAKING NO CHANCES IN CHITUNGWIZA, WHICH REMAINS

THE LARGEST POTENTIAL HOTBED FOR ANTI-GOVERNMENT

DEMONSTRATIONS IN ZIMBABWE. THE POLICE ATTACKS AGAINST

MDC YOUTH INDICATES THAT THE GOZ IS NOT WAITING FOR THE

MDC TO ORGANIZE IN CHITUNGWIZA, AND IS DOING EVERYTHING

IN ITS POWER TO PREVENT ANY KIND OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT

UNREST FROM SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL. END COMMENT.

UNCLASSIFIED

 

PAGE 04       HARARE 00917 051503Z

 

IRVING

 

UNCLASSIFIED

 

>

 

(18 VIEWS)

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