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Militia in Zimbabwe Attacks, Turns Election Violence Into Terror

The pending presidential run-off in Zimbabwe has made the terrible journey from suspiciously unfair to savage. People are being mutilated and burned alive. Current president Robert Mugabe's militia forces arrived at the house of opposition (MDC) leader Patson Chipiro last Friday. Finding his wife home, the men brutalized her body, locked her in her hut, and threw a fire-bomb through the window.

When Chipiro arrived home, he found his three brick huts engulfed in flames and couldn't find his wife of 29 years anywhere. He said, “I was trying to put the fire out. I thought my wife was hiding in the bushes.” The his four-year-old nephew broke the news. “He ran to me. He said, ‘Auntie has been beaten and they threw her in the fire’.”

Yesterday, Chipiro's wife died, her charred limbs frozen outstretched so the coffin wouldn't close. When Chipiro tried to report the crime, he was first given a form that purposely left our the cause of death — had an officer not intervened, he would have been left voiceless. His wife's attackers came from a nearby ruling party (Zanu-PF) militia camp. Chipiro says, “these youths are taught cruelty. They get used to murdering. They enjoy murdering. They are doing it for money.”

He's scared the attackers will come back for him. Seventy local MDC supporters are camped out in front of his home for protection, and he remains resolute despite these crushing odds. “I am very frightened,” he said. “They want to kill me. But I have no alternative. My presence here as a leader is very important. If I leave, everyone else will leave. I intend to fight the battle, from here.”


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