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Political Violence Spreads From Harare To Midlands and Bulawayo


Zimbabwean authorities have accused the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of resorting to violence, saying MDC supporters were behind the firebombing this week of a police post in Harare in which three female officers were injured.

Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena of the Zimbabwe Republic Police said two of the officers injured in the incident late Tuesday were in serious condition at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. The police spokesman said no one has been arrested in connection with the Harare firebombing. But he said five people have been arrested in similar incidents in Gweru, the provincial capital of the Midlands.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC faction headed by Morgan Tsvangirai, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party had nothing to do with the bombings and does not condone the use of violence.

Chamisa was released today from the Avenues Clinic in Harare where he was being treated for injuries he says were sustained when he was beaten by police after being arrested on Sunday while attempting to hold a meeting in the Highfield suburb.

Though organizers of the protest prayer meeting had a court order countermanding a police ban on gatherings, security forces moved in force to block the meeting and in the ensuing clashes with opposition supporters shot and killed one activist.

Tsvangirai’s deputy, Thokozane Khupe, quoted doctors treating the MDC founder and National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku as saying both were out of danger. Both sustained fractured skulls while in police detention.

Party sources said Madhuku and Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai faction, were released by the hospital today with Chamisa.

But doctors continue to treat Tsvangirai, faction deputy secretary for international relations Grace Kwinjeh, policy secretary Sekai Holland, Kambuzuma member of parliament Willas Madzimure and deputy finance secretary Elton Mangoma.

Sources in Bulawayo, meanwhile, reported skirmishes between security forces and anti-government police protesters. Groups of youths burned tires at an intersection in the Nketa suburb of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, while other groups set fires along a railway line in Tshabalala, bringing out the fire brigade.

No arrests were reported in the incidents. Officials of both opposition factions said their organizations were not involved in the skirmishes.

Kumbulani Muzavazi, elections director for Bulawayo for the Tsvangirai faction, said he had determined that youths operating on instructions from state security forces had infiltrating opposition youth groups with the intention of provoking violence.

MDC sources said 14 party officials and supporters in Bulawayo including deputy elections director Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and Bulawayo province chairwomen Agnes Mlotshwa would appear in court Friday on charges of holding an illegal meeting.

Police arrested all 14 at Nkomo’s office in Bulawayo yesterday and said they were in possession of placards for a demonstration that was scheduled for Thursday. Lawyer Kucaca Mpulu said the 14 defendants had been released in his custody.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...