Accessibility links

Zimbabwe Independent Newspaper Bombed - 2002-02-11


A regional office of Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper was firebombed Monday, along with the offices of a printing company that is used by the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). No one was injured in the attacks.

Two firebombs were thrown through the front window of the Daily News in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, early Monday morning.

Soon afterwards, the offices of a commercial printing company in the city were also firebombed.

Spokesmen for the two organizations said damage was minimal, with carpets and desks being scorched.

Innocent Kurwa, deputy general manager of the Daily News, which has the biggest daily newspaper circulation in Zimbabwe said "it was the act itself rather than the damage, which was frightening." He declined to say who might have been responsible.

Jock Dakers, a director of the commercial printing company that was also firebombed, says the attack was what he called "definitely connected" to the fact that the company prints brochures and pamphlets for the Movement for Democratic Change.

This is the second attack on the Daily News, which has frequently been the target of threats by senior government ministers. The newspaper's printing press in the capital, Harare, was blown up by military explosives 18 months ago.

No one has been arrested for that attack.

Geoff Nyarota, the editor of the newspaper, and senior staff have been detained by Zimbabwe police three times in the past year for allegedly publishing false and defamatory articles about the government, but have been released without being charged each time.

The Zimbabwe government has accused the Daily News of collaborating with Britain and the United States to bring down President Robert Mugabe. Mr. Mugabe is seeking re-election on March 9-10 against MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Political analysts say Mr. Mugabe faces the strongest challenge yet in the 22 years he has been in power.

Campaigning for the elections has been marked by widespread violence, with 19 people, almost all of them MDC opposition supporters, being killed in January. Human rights agencies say that more than 100 people have died in political violence in the past year.

Meanwhile, Sweden's Pierre Schorri, head of the European Union election observer team to Zimbabwe, is expected to apply for accreditation by the Zimbabwe government on Tuesday, according to a spokesman for the EU office in Harare.

The government has accused Sweden and five other EU countries of being biased against Mr. Mugabe and says they cannot be included in the observer team.

The EU has threatened to impose targeted sanctions if the election is not free and fair.

XS
SM
MD
LG