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Human Rights Watch exposes Zimbabwe Security Forces ruthless acts

Human Rights Watch (HRW) exposes the shameful secrets and ruthless acts of the Zimbabwe Security Forces which happened in January 2019 unrest period of the three day stay away.

The organisation documented the investigations of the Zimbabwe security forces (army and police) using excessive lethal force to crush nationwide protests from January 14 to early February.

Human Rights Watch Southern Africa Director Dewa Mavhinga said security forces used fired live ammunition which killed 17 people and they also raped about 17 women.

According to the HRW documentary between mid-January to early February, 14 men died from gunfire and 3 women died from injuries sustaining following severe beatings. Most of them were from Epworth, Chitungwiza, Mbare and Warren Park suburbs.

“Zimbabwe security forces carried out killings, rape, torture and other grave abuses during and since the January protests,” HRW said.

Mavhinga also said security forces took advantage of the general unrest and crackdown to commit rape without using condoms, exposing the victims of the risk of transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

In a documentary based on interviews eight women from Hopely, Southlea Park and Epworth in Harare were raped by uniformed armed soldiers and police who concealed their identities with masks. One of the women confirmed.

“A 46- year old woman said that nine armed men, six in army uniform, came to her house in Epworth on January 15 at about 9 pm. Two soldiers raped her without condoms in front of her teenage son .At the local police station, the police refused to record her complaint, telling her, ‘these things are happening all over the country, so we cannot receive your report or open a police case docket,” it said.

HRW is also urging the Zimbabwe authorities to stop ongoing abuses ,release those detained arbitrarily and appropriately prosecute those responsible “The authorities should arrest and prosecute those responsible for abuses and send a strong message that crimes by the security forces won’t be tolerated,” said HRW.

However, President Mnangagwa and the security forces denied responsibility for abuses, blaming the violence on protesters, opposition party and the local NGOs.

On January 14 to 16 many people stayed home and closed businesses in Harare and other major cities.

 

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About Tania Olgar Satikono