Zimbabwe Attacks Rising as Mbeke Arrives

Diplomats wonder whether elections can be held in these conditions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2008 2:25 PM CDT
Zimbabwe Attacks Rising as Mbeke Arrives
Supporters of the Movement For Democratic Change opposition party show their injuries, which they say were sustained during attacks by members of Zanu-PF militia, in Harare.   (AP Photo)

South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe today for talks with Robert Mugabe, with evidence of brutal government attacks on the rise, the New York Times reports. Doctors said they’d seen a “dramatic escalation” in assaults by government agents. With a runoff looming, more than 900 opposition supporters have been beaten, and even that number “grossly underestimates” the violence, one doctor said.

Mbeki, normally an ally of Mugabe’s, sent a team of generals to Zimbabwe to investigate the violence. “You cannot have the next round taking place in this atmosphere,” said one South African official. “We have seen it, there are people in hospital who said they have been tortured.” Mugabe’s government also has been arresting dissenters, including one independent newspaper’s editor. (More Zimbabwe stories.)

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