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Zimbabwe Court Grants Bail To White Farmers - 2001-08-20


A court in Zimbabwe has granted bail to 21 white farmers who are accused of attacking land invaders at Chinhoyi in northern Zimbabwe. Unrest on Zimbabwe's farms is continuing.

High Court judge Rita Makarau granted bail to 21 white farmers arrested two weeks ago. She ordered the farmers to pay bail of $1800 each.

All but one of the men are forbidden to return to the Chinhoyi area for four weeks. One of the farmers, who was taken ill in court when he was arrested two weeks ago, is allowed to go home for medical treatment. All the men have had to hand their passports to police and report to police once a week.

The judge said that she was forbidding the men returning to Chinhoyi to prevent further violence in the area.

More than 40 white-owned homesteads were looted and wrecked following the clash with land invaders two weeks ago. More than 100 farmers and their families were forced to flee when pro-government militants stormed their homes.

The violence that followed the incident has spread to Hwedza, 80 kilometers southeast of the capital, Harare. Land invaders, supported by pro-government militant groups, have halted operations on more than half the 50 farms in the area. Several thousand workers have been forced off the farms.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says there have been renewed attacks on senior officials of the party by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. The MDC says the home of a regional vice chairman in eastern Zimbabwe has been destroyed, while eight people were injured in an attack 150 kilometers northwest of Harare.

Meanwhile, Amani Trust, a Zimbabwe human rights group, says at least 12 people were killed by government supporters in July, while another 61 people disappeared.

Amani Trust head Tony Reeler says at least 80 people have been killed in political violence since parliamentary elections in June last year. The Amani Trust says that just before the elections at least 40 people, almost all of them opposition supporters, were killed.

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