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Human Rights Group Says Zimbabwe Abuses Being Ignored


Amnesty International says a food crisis and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are being ignored while negotiators struggle to end a deadlock over a power-sharing deal.

The London-based human rights group blames the situation on President Robert Mugabe's party and his security forces, and has called for them to be brought to justice.

Amnesty released a report Friday saying more than 180 Zimbabweans were murdered and more than nine thousand were tortured and beaten following first-round elections in March.

The group says Mugabe supporters were punishing opposition supporters and trying to scare them into voting for President Mugabe in the June presidential run-off.

The group says the violence has left many poor farmers disabled and unable to work their fields, deepening the nation's food crisis.

U.N. aid agencies have warned that up to five million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid because of shortages and soaring prices.

The ruling ZANU-PF party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change signed a power-sharing agreement in September. But the sides remain at an impasse over how to allocate cabinet ministries in the proposed new government.

The deal was designed to end the turmoil that followed this year's elections, which has left Zimbabwe without an official government.

The MDC won control of parliament in the March elections, handing ZANU-PF its first such loss since independence in 1980. But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the presidential run-off because of the attacks against his supporters.

The run-off, won by Mr. Mugabe, was widely dismissed in the international community as a sham.