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Zimbabwe Price Control Arrests Rise to Nearly 5,000

State media in Zimbabwe say nearly 5,000 businesspeople have been arrested over the past month for violations of the government's price-control program.

The state-run Herald newspaper said Thursday that another 23 store owners and senior managers were arrested Wednesday, bringing the total to 4,926.

The paper quoted a police official as saying the latest arrests occurred in Harare's central business district and that the suspects would appear in court on Friday.

Zimbabwe's government ordered price cuts of up to 50 percent on many basic goods late last month in an effort to curb an inflation rate that many analysts believe has topped 4,500 percent.

Many retailers and manufacturers initially ignored the order, prompting the government crackdown.

Witnesses say many items have since disappeared from store shelves, as store owners refuse to sell their goods at a loss.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.