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Terror in Zimbabwe: Testimony from around the country

The following entries are sample testimonies randomly selected from the data sheets we used as a source for the information on our map here. We have taken pains to obscure any details that could potentially identify the victims - words inserted in square brackets are ours. These testimonies are selected from locations all over the country and all report atrocities that have occurred after the March 29th elections.

Zanu PF Youths and War Veterans invaded my homestead and some of them had guns. They fired a warning shot in the air so that we won't run away. I was abducted from home together with other fellow MDC members. We were taken to their 'base' and were interrogated. I was beaten with wooden logs, boots, open hands and fists. I was also hit with a stone on my head. I was detained for about 30 minutes.

» My husband, I and our child were abducted by 100 zanu youth. My child managed to escape but we were taken to their base where we were beaten the whole night. They also burnt down our house.

» [Name supplied] reported that he was putting up posters as well as writing on the walls [...] to encourage people to vote for Tsvangirai. He was caught by 5 Zanu PF youths and they beat him with clenched fists. He was then taken to their base at [name supplied] and they assaulted him on the back and buttocks with a baton. He was then taken to [name supplied] police station where he was accused of writting on someone's durawall. The police then started beating them, he was beaten 4 times on the back and he fell to the ground. One of the police officers then stepped on his right eye. He was kept in custody up to [date provided] when he was taken to [name supplied] Police Station where the CID refused to accept the responsibility that he had been in custody for too long. He was taken back to [the original] Police Station and was made to pay a fine.

» They burnt my home, chased my wife out of the village and took away my goats to their base for slaughtering.

» [Name supplied] reported that she was sleeping in her house when she heard a knock at around 12 midnight. She did not respond to the knock and police shouted that they were looking for her and they broke window panes to her house. They were Zanu PF and CIO agents and [a relative] opened the door. They said they were looking for [one of her family members] who they accused of [details supplied]. They threatened to kill her if she did not reveal her [relatives] whereabouts to them and they took her. Someone she knew from among them stopped them from assaulting her. She was detained for three days and released after paying a fine. She was charged with violent conduct.

» The following Zanu PF youths [list of perpetrator names supplied] attacked me and assaulted me with stones and sticks they then burnt our huts.

The Zanu Youth beat my father and he had injuries. I went to the village to see him but they captured me saying I was a traitor who was making some arrangments for them to be arrested. They released me in the night after spending the day without food or water.

» [Name supplied] reported that he was asleep when a mob of about 40 Zanu PF youths surrounded his house and beat [ his relatives in the evening]. They came back again in the morning and forced [names supplied] and his wife to go to [a place where he ws getting ready for work]. They knocked at around 0400hrs wearing ZNA uniforms and he managed to identify one of them as [perpetratpor's name provided]. He was assaulted by all of them. They apprehended him, slapped him and put the barrel of a gun in his mouth and tried to force a confession about [details provided]. They made him carry a rock around [his community admitting to everyone that he had done what they accused him of].

» At a meeting called by members of the army on [date supplied] we were beaten up for supporting the MDC.

» The zanu youth came in groups of about 400, without warning, they burnt my home. I lost maize, groundnuts, furniture, scotch cart, and a pump.

» They came during the night and started destroying our homes. They had weapons and threatened to take us to their base where the top officials were. We escaped and came looking for help.

» [Name supplied] reported that on the day in question he was [in a public place] with his friends. Two twin cab vehicles filled with people arrived and these people whom he suspected to be Zanu PF supporters accused him of being [in the MDC party] and they started assaulting him. He was assaulted with clenched fists and booted feet before being thrown into the back of the truck and taken [to a location] and assaulted again. They then took a dish filled with water and submerged his head in water and threatened to kill him. They asked him to identify his colleagues who are also in the MDC and they forced him to put on a Zanu PF t-shirt. He was blindfolded and taken [ back to a public place].

The team was attacking my son and when I tried to defend him, they turned to me. I was assaulted with bricks and sticks. Our house was burnt to ashes and we lost everything.

» I was kicked by about 300 men who came to my place and destroyed everything. They slaughtered all my cattle and goats.

» My wife and children were beaten because I had voted for mdc. They burnt our home and I decided to flee but I left my family. We were left with nothing.

» [Name supplied] reported that Zanu PF youths organised a meeting to plan for the anticipated re-run. They abducted MDC supporters from their homes and made them lie down on their tummies. They took turns to beat them with logs and detained them until midnight.

» [Name supplied] was sleeping at home when people called for a meeting at [an individuals house - name supplied]. The time they got at that place the house was on fire. That’s when [three named perpetrators] started beating [him] saying [he] was involved since people used to gather at his place when listening to [the radio]. They beat [him] up using sticks while being made to line down on his stomach. [They also deliberately made a lot of noise while beating] so that people could not hear them scream.

» I was taken from home to the zanu base where I was tortured. Upon release, my home was destroyed from the fowl run to the toilet.I lost everything.

Many Zanu PF supporters came to my house (about 200) and we tried to run away but could not go far. I was accused of voting for the MDC. I told them that I voted for the MDC and they started beating me up. I was beaten on the back and buttocks. They also burnt down our houses and we went to sit and stayed in the bush. I lost my property including clothing in the fire.

» [Name supplied] reported that he was busy [working] when a group of about 15 soldiers approached him and ordered him to stop. He was accused of convening a meeting because [he had customers] around him. They were ordered to lie facing downwards and beaten on the back and buttocks. The soldiers left after about 15 minutes.

» People were being harrassed day and night in the village so I had to flee.

» [Name supplied] reported that his village where he stays and other surrounding villages were forced to attend a rally. Slogans were chanted and they were told that there was war in the country. [MDC supporters] were called to lie in front of the crowd and beaten with batons.

» I was abducted and taken to the zanu base head by [perpetrator's name supplied]. There I was made to sing songs that denounce MDC and I was told to quit my job and vacate from the area. I am no longer employed and I had to flee.

» The zanu youth captured me and took me to their base where they asked me questions regarding mdc members in the village. I never answered and they beat me.

» [Name supplied] claims that he was at his village and he has been sleeping in the bush for the past 2 weeks. He saw their property being burnt on [date supplied] by over 200 zanu PF youths. He went to investigate after they had left and he decided [he had to leave the area for his family's safety].

» He claims that two ZNA trucks filled with about 20 uniformed soldiers and police arrived at his house and asked him to open the door and forced him outside. He was dragged to [a public place] where they began assaulting him all over the body using batons, rifle butts, fists and booted feet. They said they were beating him for being an [MDC supporter].

My wife was captured and beaten so that she would tell them where I was after they came looking for me.They burnt my house, took my cattle and goats. Some of the cattle were taken I don’t know if they sold them or not.

» Displaced from home. Homes torched by Zanu PF youths.

» I survived because I hid in a water drain when the zanu youth came chanting slogans in the village. Hitting and injuring people.

» I had been threatened for four days prior to the incident. On the above date, I [...] was moving out of the resettled area. Zanu PF activists met me on the way. There were about 12. They took me handcuffed and my legs tied with wire to [name of village supplied]. They poured us with cold water [late at night], they took us to their base, again poured us with contaminated water. There they assaulted us once more on the buttocks and back and left leg using a wire.

» It was [date supplied] around midnight I was sleeping when I heard a knock on the door and somebody calling out that we are thieves and come out. I thought it was somebody joking [...] so I went to opened the door. I saw about 100 people holding sticks and logs and more. [...] They ordered me to lie down and beat me on my back and legs. I sustained wounds. They beat me for almost two hours. I passed out and could not talk. There was blood all over my face and clothes when I regained consciousness because they had also beat me on my head. I tried to [escape] because I was afraid they would come back for me and kill me. It was very difficult because I felt weak and had pains all over the body. I [hid outside in the open]. It was cold and I was shivering. I then thought it was not safe to stay there because of the pain and fear. I then went to [a friends house] to take refuge. I stayed there for four days without any treatment. I had pain and still weak.

» I am on the list in our area because I coordinate MDC activities and many others have also fled from here after threats and some people being assaulted.

» War vets armed with guns threatened us with death if we do not attend Zanu PF meeting.

» Whilst sleeping during the night, the zanu youth led by [perpetrator name supplied] came to my place and I got away. They failed to catch me and destoyed my home, took away my bags of millet, 5 chickens and goats.

» I was taken to their base where they forced me to denounce MDC. They abducted me after coming to my plot, singing slogans.

» My name was on the hunted mdc list wanted dead by the zanu youth. I managed to flee but they destroyed my home and I lost everything.

» The zanu youth came to my place around 11 in the night and claimed to be the police. When I got out, they beat me with whips and iron bars. They also took 100kg bag of maize and 5 chickens.

» They came to our home at 8.00pm and took us to their base and beat us through out the night. They kept us without anything to eat for the next day then they gave us a final beating at the end of the second day and let us go. There were youths and war vets.

» I was at the township when the zanu youth caught me and took me to their base where they forced me to chant their slogans. I was tortured by [named perpetrators] and others saying I was an mdc activist. I was released but told to attend their gatherings everyday.

» On the [date supplied] the zanu youth together with their leader came and abducted me. They took me to their base where they beat me whilst I was hung. I was not feeling well but they told me they didn't care.

» I was working in my garden when I was approached by the zanu people. They forced me to tell them all the mdc members in the area. I refused and they beat me with sticks under the feet. They told me to vacate and go get a garden from Morgan Tsvangirai.

» Client reported that he was on his way to [place supplied] coming from [place supplied]. He reported that he wanted to discuss some issues with his MDC colleagues. They walked past [place supplied] Primary School and that is when they realised that they had been surrounded by Zanu PF youths. They accused them of selling the soil to the whites, they asked them to do slogans and they refused. They started assaulting them with a wire whip and logs. He was beaten on the head and all over the body.

» He claims that he was sleeping when he suddenly heard his dogs barking. He went out only wearing an underwear and that's when he realised many Zanu PF youths have surrounded his homestead. He then shouted asking them what they wanted and in turn they told him they had come for him. They then started throwing stones. He tried to runaway but before he could go anywhere he was tagged and fell to the ground and they started beating him up using sticks and [...]. They continued assaulting him until he was weak. They then tied him with wire on both hands and dragged to their base just beside the [...]. There he was brutally assaulted several times by different youths taking turns. The next day they then released him.

» At around 1 am, I was attacked and they tied all the doors of my houses before setting everything alight. I managed to rescue my wife and son.

» My wife was captured and beaten so that she would tell them where I was after they came looking for me. They burnt my 3 houses, took my 2 cattle and goats. Some of the cattle were taken I don't know if they sold them or not.

» They destroyed my houses and my family was left homeless. Our cattle, goats and dogs were killed.

» Zanu Pf youth came and there were about 500, and they destroyed our home and property including radio, television, clothes burnt food, cotton. They killed one of my goats for consumption, My ID was taken .

» I was chased away from home by zanu pf youth my house was destroyed and I lost all my food as the granary was burnt, they took my goats for slaughter.

» Client reported that his village where he stays and other surrounding villages were forced to attend a rally. Slogans were chanted and they were told that there was war in the country. Polling agents were called to lie in front of the crowd and beaten with batons. After the rally all agents were put in a classroom and called one by one for interview. They were asked to strip naked both men and women and sat on the floor. He was called outside and beaten with sticks. The next morning they were told that they would not be beaten because they were newly converted Zanu PF members. [...]