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16 Farmers Attacked in Zimbabwe


A Zimbabwe farmers' union says at least 16 farmers have been attacked across the country by people trying to seize their land.

Commercial Farmers Union leader Charles Taff said Wednesday that police have not responded to calls for help.

The union represents a group of mostly white farmers in the southern African nation.

More than 3,000 white-owned commercial farms have been seized by supporters of President Robert Mugabe since 2000. The seizures were part of a land reform program that was supposed to re-allocate the farms to landless blacks.

The president said the program was aimed at correcting colonial-era injustices. However, critics say much of the land was given to ruling party supporters with little farming experience, and that the new farmers were not given the equipment, seeds, and fertilizer to keep the farms productive.

The seizures set off a steep economic decline from which Zimbabwe is still recovering.

Mr. Mugabe blames the country's economic crisis on western sanctions and interference led by former colonial power Britain.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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