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Zimbabwean Police Arrest Opposition Leader Mutambara

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested an opposition leader for an article he wrote that was critical of President Robert Mugabe.

The lawyer for Arthur Mutambara says he was arrested at his house in the capital, Harare, early Sunday. Attorney Harrison Nkomo says Mutambara is charged with publishing falsehoods and for contempt of court.

The arrest stems from an article published April 20 in the independent newspaper The Standard. Police arrested the paper's editor last month.

Mutambara is the leader of a faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that broke away from the main party in 2005. The two factions reconciled earlier this year.

The arrest comes during the run-up to Zimbabwe's June 27 presidential runoff. Critics of Mr. Mugabe say his supporters are trying to intimidate opposition activists ahead of vote.

On Saturday, the state-run Herald newspaper said the Army Chief of Staff Major General Martin Chedondo told soldiers to vote for President Mugabe or quit the military.

State-run media also said Saturday that two ruling (ZANU-PF) party members had been shot by suspected opposition supporters. The Movement for Democratic Change denied any involvement.

The opposition says more than 50 people have been killed in election-related violence, and has blamed pro-Mugabe militias for the killings.

President Mugabe faces MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the June runoff.

Mr. Tsvangirai beat Mr. Mugabe in the first round of voting March 29, but official results showed him falling short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

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