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Violence escalates but Americans spared

Violence escalated in the run-up to the presidential elections run-off with shocking reports of targetted violence directed against opposition members and suspected opposition supporters but no United States citizens were involved.

The United States embassy received reports of human rights abuses, targetted incidents of torture, and rural homes being destroyed in many parts of the country on a daily basis.

The reports indicated that the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front would do anything to win the election.

Though there were no reports of United States citizens being affected, there were fears that representatives of USAID and non-governmental organisations might be at risk if they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in rural areas.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 08HARARE413, HARARE: EAC MEETS TO DISCUSS TARGETED VIOLENCE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE413

2008-05-08 15:01

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8674

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0413 1291501

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 081501Z MAY 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2877

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS HARARE 000413

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/ITA

AF/S

S/CT

CA

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ASEC AMGT CASC PREL ZI

SUBJECT: HARARE: EAC MEETS TO DISCUSS TARGETED VIOLENCE

AGAINST OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND CONTINUED HUMAN RIGHTS

VIOLATIONS

 

REF: A. HARARE 389

 

B. HARARE 344

C. HARARE 331

 

1. (SBU) Embassy Harare’s EAC met on May 8 to review the

political situation and the Mission’s security posture. The

Ambassador chaired the meeting. In attendance were

representatives from RSO, POL/ECON, CONS, USAID, MGT, R/POL,

CDC, GSO, IMO, CLO and MSG.

 

2. (SBU) The Ambassador explained that the political

situation continues to evolve and the Embassy continues to

receive shocking reports of targeted violence directed

against opposition members and suspected opposition

supporters. Credible reports of human rights abuses,

targeted incidents of torture, and rural homes being

destroyed in many parts of the country are being obtained on

a daily basis.

 

3. (SBU) Pol/Econ concurred that these reports of violence

in the rural areas continue unabated. R/POL agreed, adding

that the ruling party will do anything to win the election.

Within the Mission, those most at risk are representatives of

US AID and NGO organizations who might happen to be in the

wrong place at the wrong time in rural areas.

 

4. (SBU) EAC members agreed that Embassy business has

remained largely unaffected by the current political

situation, especially in and around Harare. RSO commented

that there are no reports of Americans being specifically

targeted for crime or harassment in Harare, and recent trips

to Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe, and the Nyanga resort

areas by mission travelers have been incident free. Overall

crime in Harare has remained at routine levels, with

smash-and-grab attacks and attempted burglary events

continuing to happen with some regularity.

 

5. (SBU) EAC members agreed that the Mission’s current

security posture, which includes continued case-by-case

review of in-country travel requests, remains appropriate.

The Ambassador directed CONS and RSO to prepare a security

message and warden message to notify communities that the

situation remains somewhat volatile and that the expected

return of MDC opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai this

weekend may spark increased violence between the ruling party

and opposition supporters.

 

MCGEE

 

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