SUSPECTED Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) soldiers allegedly terrorised and severely assaulted residents in Harare’s Southlea Park last weekend, including an MDC-T activist’s wife and her six-week old baby.
The soldiers were reportedly looking for an MDC-T Harare South district youth chairperson only identified as Svosve who was however, away in Bulawayo attending the opposition party’s 17th anniversary celebrations.
After failing to find Svosve, the soldiers roughed up his wife before going on to terrorise the neighbourhood looking for other opposition activists and members of the #Tajamuka protest group.
Other locals who were assaulted and sustained injuries during the Saturday night crackdown include activists Vengai Chingoriwo, Davison Mangena and Tatenda Kadzitongi.
They claimed to have been attacked with baton sticks and logs and also complained of severe headaches as well as difficulty in walking and sitting.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson Charity Charamba could neither deny nor confirm the alleged attacks telling NewZimbabwe.com that: “I am very busy with something else at the moment. Try to call later.
She did not answer her phone when called again later.
Meanwhile, narrating her ordeal, Svosve’s wife: “At around 2200hrs on Saturday, around 19 men, seven of them in army uniform knocked on my door and demanded to see my husband who is the MDC-T District Chairman for Southlea Park.
“My husband was away in Bulawayo for the MDC-T17th Anniversary. The men searched my house and failed to locate him.
“This angered them and they poured cold water on my half-naked body, accusing my husband of being a member of the #Tajamuka campaign group before snatching my baby and throwing him onto the floor.
“The baby has been crying a lot after the attack but, doctors say he is fine.”
The woman and other activists who sustained injuries during the crackdown were attended to at the Counselling Services Unit (CSU) in Harare before being taken to hospital for medical treatment.
Campaign group Justice for Women Zimbabwe (JFWZ) said it condemned “in the strongest terms the abuse of women and children by the State police and army”.
“Just few weeks after the brutalization of women by the police, soldiers have decided to spread such a satanic act to children,” the group said in a statement.
“This is inhuman. Police and army must stop this forthwith. Justice for Women Zimbabwe will not watch and fold hands while the state is violating women and children’s rights.
“We are going to take any action possible to stop such gross human rights violations. We call upon all women to stand up and fight against this brutality.
“As women we need to stand up for ourselves and for each other.”
The weekend clashes come barely a month after alleged Zanu PF militia in police gear assaulted opposition activists in Harare’s Epworth suburb.
Zanu PF has denied any involvement in attacks against the opposition reported around the country and no arrests have been made so far.
Source: New Zimbabwe