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June 5, 2008
US, British Diplomats Attacked in Zimbabwe
Diplomats from the United States and Great Britain who were investigating political violence in Zimbabwe were attacked by police and "war veterans" - a group of thugs fanatically loyal tp President Robert Mugabe - and are still being held:Just hours previously, opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangira was released from detention after being stopped at a roadblock. Mr. Tsvangira had previously been arrested and held incommunicado for nearly 72 hours before pressure from international groups won his freedom.
The war veterans threatened to burn the vehicles with my people inside unless they got out of the vehicles and accompanied the police to a station nearby," McGee said, saying he was in touch with the group by mobile phone.
Five Americans, four Britons and three Zimbabweans were in the three-car convoy, he said.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Paul Engelstad said the group was still being held some six hours after being stopped at a roadblock just north of Harare.
A British government spokesman later said the British diplomats had been released unharmed. But Downing Street spokesman Michael Ellam did not discuss the status of the American diplomats.
The opposition and rights groups have accused Mugabe of orchestrating violence and intimidation in the run-up to a June 27 presidential runoff.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena denied security agents had threatened the diplomats, saying instead that police were trying to rescue them from a threatening mob.
"It's unfortunate when diplomats behave like criminals and distort information," Bvudzijena said. "It is a very sad situation."
It appears that President Mugabe - who has ruled Zimbabwe for 28 years - is preparing the ground to steal the election later this month to maintain his iron control of the country. At this point, it is not even certain that the vote will go forward since the sentiment of the populace is so dead set against Mugabe's continued dictatorship.