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23 May 2008 16:00
Zimbabwean police have arrested 12 opposition supporters in the eastern border town of Mutare on public-violence charges, a state-run daily reported on Friday.
The Herald quoted police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka as saying the activists for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were arrested following a tip-off from members of the public.
“We are reliably informed that these perpetrators are using marked or unmarked vehicles to terrorise people in the communities,” Mandipaka said.
“They would go and perpetrate the acts of violence and retreat to their hidden bases, which we are still to establish.”
The report said MDC supporters were also found in possession of axes, chain blades and whips they were allegedly using to commit various acts of violence as they moved around in a pick-up truck belonging to the opposition party.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has accused the MDC of fomenting violence since disputed elections in the country at the end of March, which he and his party lost.
The United Nations representative to the country has said most of the violence has been committed by followers of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party against members of the MDC, but MDC supporters are also to blame.
Amnesty International and a number of Zimbabwean civil groups have accused Mugabe supporters of violent acts since the elections designed to intimidate MDC supporters.
The arrest of the opposition activists comes in the same week as police arrested two opposition lawmakers on charges of incitement.
Mugabe is to face MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is to return to Zimbabwe on Saturday after six weeks out of the country, in a run-off ballot for the presidency on June 27.—AFP
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