Govt slates US sanctions renewal, dismisses civilian murder, rape claims by army
By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has denied claims by Washington the country’s security forces killed and raped civilians in response to ill-fated anti-government protests of last year that were ignited by a sharp hike in prices of fuel.
This comes after the US on Wednesday extended by another year, its targeted sanctions on Zimbabwean authorities and associated firms accused of stifling the full enjoyment of democracy.
The US said in its statement the extension of sanctions was motivated by that “the Zimbabwean government has arguably accelerated its persecution of critics and economic mismanagement in the past year, during which security forces have conducted extrajudicial killings, rapes, and alleged abductions of numerous dissidents”.
But in its response through Information Permanent secretary Nick Mangwana on Thursday, the Zimbabwean government denied security forces were ever involved in the alleged atrocities.
“The government of Zimbabwe strongly objects to the unfounded assertion that its security forces engaged in extrajudicial killings and rape against its own citizens in the last year,” Mangwana said.
“Any acts of criminality by anyone are subjected to the criminal justice processes of the country.”
According to Zimbabwean NGOs, at least 17 civilians were killed when Zimbabwe’s security forces reacted harshly to violent protests of last year.
Some were dragged from their homes during the dead of night and subjected to acts of torture.
Mangwana described the 2001 US sanctions as illegal.