Five farm workers were shot and wounded on Friday at a farm near Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, capital of Mashonaland West province, in a dispute over possession of the property between owner Louis Fick, vice president of the Commercial Farmers Union, and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor Edward Mashiringwani.
The Commercial Farmers Union issued a statement saying a man who allegedly works for the central bank official came to the farm and shot one worker on the chest, another in the head, and a third in the leg. The extent of injuries to the other two victims could not immediately be determined, but the farmers union said all were taken to the hospital.
Fick was a plaintiff in a suit lodged with the Southern African Development Community's Namibia-based tribunal which ruled he could not be dispossessed of his farm.
VOA was unable to obtain comment from Mashiringwani, who was said to be in a meeting.
Fick told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the incident on his farm Friday was particularly worrisome as past incidents have not involved gunfire.
Elsewhere, police in Hwange, Matabeleland North, on Friday released the second of two Zimbabwe Election Support Network staff members arrested there late Wednesday while they were conducting an outreach program at Cross-Mabale in Dete district.
Thulani Ndlovu and Ndodana Ndlovu - who are unrelated - were charged with conducting a meeting without first seeking police clearance. Ndodana Ndlovu was released Thursday while Thulani Ndlovu was freed on Friday on US$200 bail, ZESN sources said.
Those sources said the meeting had been cleared with Chief Dingani who helped organize it, and that a fax was sent to local police seeking clearance for the activity.
The arrest of the two men followed the detention last Sunday of two officials of the National Association of Non-governmental Organizations in the northwest resort town of Victoria Falls, also on charges of holding a meeting without notifying police.
Johannesburg-based human rights lawyer Anna Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo that such incidents further tarnish Zimbabwe’s human rights record.
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