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More Arrests of Opposition Activists in Zimbabwe 

  • Peta Thornycroft

In Zimbabwe, authorities have arrested 12 activists of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. For VOA, Peta Thornycroft reports that, earlier this week, two of MDC legislators were arrested, and the body of a prominent activist was found.

In eastern Zimbabwe, police say they have arrested 12 members of the Movement for Democratic Change. They are accused of violence against the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe.

Earlier this week, two legislators were arrested and accused of inciting violence.

Zimbabwe has seen a wave of violence following March 29 elections, in which the Movement for Democratic Change won a majority in Parliament.

Official results from the first round of voting showed MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beating President Mugabe, but failing to get the majority needed to avoid a runoff. Mr. Tsvangirai faces Zimbabwe's longtime President Robert Mugabe in a runoff election June 27.

Tsvangirai, who has been out of the country since April 8, is expected to return to Zimbabwe on Saturday. His return was delayed when his party said it learned of a plan to assassinate him. The government and the ruling ZANU-PF party have denied any such plot.

The Movement for Democratic Change says the violence against its supporters is growing, particularly in areas that were ZANU-PF strongholds, but where the number of votes for Mr. Mugabe was lower than in the past.

The MDC says the violence is designed to frighten people away from voting for Mr. Tsvangirai in the runoff.

The Movement for Democratic Change says thousands of people have been injured. Party members say they were assaulted by members of ZANU-PF, as well as people wearing security forces uniforms.

Earlier this week, the family of civil rights activist Tonderai Ndira said his body was found about a week after he was abducted from his home May 14. The family says his body was found about 30 kilometers away and was badly decomposed.

Ndira had been arrested more than 30 times since the Movement for Democratic Change was launched in September 1999.

An independent pathologist from South Africa has been given access to determine the cause of his death.