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More Violence Plagues Zimbabwe - 2001-11-26

A Zimbabwean student was killed Saturday when he was thrown off a moving train by a soldier. And a white farmer was shot in another incident in the violence-plagued country.

Zimbabwe police say that the death of student Lameck Chemvura was the result of a brawl and was not politically inspired, and that the soldier responsible for throwing him off the train will be charged with his murder.

But news reports from the Zimbabwe capital, Harare quote eyewitnesses who said the soldiers accused passengers traveling on the train from Harare to Mutare of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The reports say passengers enroute to the eastern border town, including women and children, were assaulted. The reports say that soldiers beat and kicked Mr. Chemvura and then strangled him with a shoelace before they threw him off the train.

In a separate incident, Alan Bradley, a white Zimbabwe farmer, was shot in the arm and lung Sunday as he returned to his farm.

He was holding his 6-year-old son, who was not injured. Mr. Bradley's wife, Anthea, was driving their vehicle at the time and managed to force the vehicle through a barricade of tree branches laid across the road.

Mr. Bradley remains hospitalized in a serious but stable condition.

Scores of people have died in politically inspired violence in Zimbabwe, which began before general elections in March last year.

At least 39 people, most of them farm workers, have been killed in violence related to farm invasions. The farm invaders have the support of the Zimbabwe government, which has listed about 90 percent of the country's 5,000 commercial farms for redistribution to landless peasants.

Zimbabweans will vote in presidential elections next year and it remains unclear whether President Robert Mugabe, who has held office since 1980 and who is said to be in declining health, will run again.

It is expected that Morgan Tsvangerai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change will be a candidate. Some analysts say that this will be the first Zimbabwe presidential election in which the opposition candidate could win.