Police arrested eight senior officials of the Christian Alliance Friday morning in the Midlands town of Kadoma on charges they were holding an illegal political meeting, sources close to the Bulawayo-based clerical activist group said.

Sources said about 15 police officers and armed soldiers raided a church in Kadoma where the eight civil society leaders had gathered, also arresting a cameraman.

The arrested included Christian Alliance coordinator Jonah Gokovah, spokesman Pius Wakatama and several pastors including Raymond Motsi, Wilson Mugabe, and Ancemon Magaya.

Organization coordinator Useni Sibanda said that although the charges are not clear, the eight are accused of inciting violence and are likely to be arraigned on Monday.

Motsi said he was surprised police mounted the raid as those present were holding a prayer meeting, for which no clearance is required under the legislation most often cited in such cases, the Public Order and Security Act, known as POSA.

Lawyer Chris Mafirakureva, representing those detained, gave reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe an update on the situation.

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