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Leader of Zimbabwe Doctors Strike Reappears After 5 Days Missing

Zimbabwean medical staff march on the streets of Harare, Sept. 19, 2019.

The Zimbabwean doctor whose disappearance sparked off a wave of doctors’ protests across the country, has reappeared, alive.

Speaking Thursday on VOA Zimbabwe Service’s Livetalk program, a disoriented-sounding Dr. Peter Magombeyi, the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association, confirmed he was the one on the other end of the phone.

“I honestly don’t know how to truly identify myself, but I am Dr. Peter Magombeyi, I work at Harare Hospital,” he said.

The doctor, who had been spearheading calls for an increase of doctors’ salaries when he disappeared on September 15, said he could not remember exactly what happened to him or how he ended up where he was — an area called Nyabira, about 33 kilometers from Harare.

“That part I’m just so vague about, I need time to recall," he said.

A Zimbabwean doctor lays on a banner during a protest in Harare, Sept, 18, 2019.
A Zimbabwean doctor lays on a banner during a protest in Harare, Sept, 18, 2019.

Dr. Magombeyi said his last recollection before being taken by unnamed people was the memory of being electrocuted.

“I remember being in a basement of some sort, being electrocuted at some point, that is what I vividly remember. I, I just don’t remember,” Dr. Magombeyi said, struggling to speak.

Zimbabwe’s government and police have denied involvement in Magombeyi’s disappearance, but said they were doing all they could to find the doctor.

Officials also suggested a third party could be involved in the disappearance to taint the government’s image.

Responding to the police allegation, and also Twitter posts alluding to the same accusations, Magombeyi said he had no answers.

“I need time to think about it, I don’t know," he said.