'Abductions on the rise'

HARARE - The current wave of anti-President Robert Mugabe protests has led to a spike in cases of abductions at the hands of suspected State security agents, a report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO forum says.

According to the report, the month of September recorded a worrying increase in politically-motivated kidnappings.

“Five people sought medical assistance after being targeted and abducted at gunpoint by unknown men in plain clothes and in unmarked vehicles. All were subjected to intense interrogation, physical beatings with blunt objects, barbed wire, and whips and were electrocuted,” says the report.

Worryingly, for human rights defenders are the brutal tactics that the abductors are employing, including injecting abductees with unknown substances.

“All (the abducted) reported being injected with an unknown substance and three were forced to have sexual intercourse with men or women.”

According to the report “spouses and children of the victims were subjected to beatings when the targeted person could not be located”.

“The force of the violence shown by the State is worrying, as over 10 percent of victims sustained fractures and over 20 percent required hospital admission.

“Further, many of the families of the detainees in remand were visited by State security agents and threatened.”

The report chillingly warns that the country is slowly relapsing into the 2008 era when cases of political violence and intimidation were almost the order of the day.

“All the issues noted in this month’s report are reminiscent of the state violence perpetrated in 2007, and then escalated in April 2008 after the first round of the presidential electoral process.

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