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First Case Of political Violence In Zimbabwe In New Year - 2004-01-08

One opposition activist was killed and at least two more injured in the first reported case of political violence this year in Zimbabwe. Victims say they were attacked by members of the ruling Zanu P-F party.

The dead man has been identified by his friends as Alexander Chibega, a peasant farmer who returned to his home area 40-kilometers north of Harare a month ago. He was reportedly buried immediately after his body was found by people in the area.

His neighbors say he was a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and has been living in Harare since violence erupted in his home district shortly before the 2002 presidential election.

According to two of his friends, now in a Harare hospital, Mr. Chibega and others were attacked late Monday by a crowd of about 40 ruling-party youths. The dead man's wife was taken to a nearby government hospital.

One of the injured, 60-year-old Enias Mutsonobaya, was taken to a private hospital in Harare, where he underwent surgery. Human-rights monitors and medical staff treating him and at least one other person injured in the same attack, say Mr. Mutsonobaya had also recently returned to his village, Madziwa, that he fled for safety reasons two-years ago . Because of political violence, the area where the dead man and his injured friends come from is considered a no-go area for many reporters and human-rights workers.

Assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena says police are investigating the incident.