Terror campaign moves to Bulawayo as more activists are abducted
By Lance Guma
11 April 2007
The campaign of terror that the state is accused of employing mainly in Harare has now apparently moved to the second largest city of Bulawayo. This follows revelations that the Joint Operations Command comprising all the security services has directed the crackdown be implemented countrywide. According to Nelson Chamisa a spokesman for the Tsvangirai MDC, over 4 activists were abducted on Tuesday in Bulawayo. National executive member Sikululekile Nkala and Themba Nyathi from the Tsvangirai MDC were moved to Harare, arriving there in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Nkala is being held at Harare Central while Nyathi is at Matapi police station in Mbare.
Speaking to Newsreel from Bulawayo, Sam Sipepa Nkomo a senior official in the party, said they are surprised as to why the two have been transferred to Harare. He says Nkala especially ‘is a little young girl still in school.’ Nkomo says most MDC officials are now in hiding following reports that state security agents are raiding homes in the city and looking for opposition activists. The environment in Bulawayo has been relatively calm but all that has changed this week. Its now reported several people have been picked up and taken to Harare in a truck.
In Harare Godfrey Koster, a Youth Coordinator in the MDC, and Darlington Madzonga, a personal assistant to Chamisa, were abducted at gunpoint from Karigamombe Centre. The two had visited the offices of the Students Solidarity Trust at Construction House on personal business. It’s reported that when they came out of the building their car had been clamped by the Municipal traffic police. On going to the municipal offices at Trafalgar Court to pay the fine two unidentified man produced a gun and bundled them into a waiting vehicle. Koster is said to have been in hiding since the onset of the abductions after being tipped off he was a possible target. Its now thought he was under constant surveillance by those who abducted him since he only left his hide out on Wednesday.
Since Wednesday last week over 19 activists were arrested in Harare alone. The Combined Harare Residents Association also issued a statement saying on Monday this week police visited workers at Lucky 7 Supermarket at Mhishi Shopping Centre in Mufakose. They demanded to know where the workers were taken for treatment following their assault by armed policemen last month. According to Keith Charumbira, the CHRA Chairperson for Ward 34, the policemen wanted details of the treatment and the people involved in assisting them. The police also asked them to explain why they gave information to the media on the incident.
Meanwhile the bail application for Ian Makone was not heard because the state lawyer from the Magistrate’s court had assigned another lawyer to take over the case. The new prosecutor said he had not been furnished with enough information for the case to proceed and therefore wanted the matter postponed to the 12th of April. The judge ruled that the case will be heard Thursday.
In related stories, 7 student leaders were abducted for protesting against a decision to deny them food by Masvingo State University authorities. 5 of the students have been released but the Student Representative Council president Witlow Mugwiji and Secretary General Edson Hlatswayo's whereabouts are still unknown. The students union believes they were taken by a group of people composed of ZANU PF youths and police officers. The student’s lawyer Wellington Muzenda has been making frantic efforts to locate where they are currently being detained.