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Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Attacked - 2004-07-02

The president of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, and several leading party members were attacked Friday at a meeting of about 400 provincial leaders north of Harare. None of the party officials was injured. Several party officials were wounded and taken to a hospital.

An account of the attack in the village of Mvurwi, 100 kilometers northwest of Harare, was given by Mr. Tsvangirai's personal assistant, William Bango. He said it occurred during a meeting of elected provincial leaders who gathered in an enclosed area behind a garage owned by an MDC member.

He said six pick-up trucks and two trucks filled with ruling Zanu PF supporters arrived at the meeting as Mr. Tsvangirai finished addressing party officials, and as plain clothes policemen left the area.

Mr. Bango said the militants blocked the only exit from the meeting area and started a fight with stones and makeshift weapons. He said the Zanu PF supporters were chased away and Mr. Tsvangirai was then able to get into his vehicle and leave town.

Mr. Bango said he did not know how many people had been injured but that he saw the driver of an MDC national executive member, whose name was not immediately available, covered in blood, and that a woman carrying a baby was wounded.

After returning to Harare, Morgan Tsvangirai said ruling Zanu PF militia continue to roam Zimbabwe attacking opposition supporters without being restrained by the police.

The opposition leader was last attacked in February, and is now traveling with bodyguards and his aides say he is under constant surveillance by state security agents.