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MDC Denies Connection to Arrested Soldiers - 2003-04-08


The opposition Movement for Democratic Change denies any links with 23 soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army who were arrested and paraded on national television Monday.

Some of them say they deserted the army to terrorize the high density suburbs of Harare and the town of Chitungwiza which lies 30 km South East of the capital. The police say the arrested had army boots, belts and opposition MDC T-shirts and banners which were allegedly seized from their homes.

said he was persuaded by members of the MDC to take part in bombings of strategic buildings in Harare during the mass stayaway.

the MDC secretary general said Zanu PF is now panicking and is parading its own youth militia to deceive the world. Professor Ncube says the parading of the youths in army uniform is an attempt to suggest that all violence that has been going on in the last few weeks has been sponsored by the MDC.

He said there is nothing new in the harassment of people by the army – which he says has been going on for close to three years now.

Tendai Biti, the MDC shadow minister for Home Affairs, dismissed the arrest as a gimmick by the government. He says the government is trying to divert the attention of task force by Southern Africa Development Community which is expected to look into human rights abuses in the country.

Zimbabwe is suffering from record unemployment and severe food shortages, blamed in part on President Mugabe's agricultural policies. They include the seizure white owned commercial farms which are distributed to landless blacks and to political allies of the president.

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