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  • Zimbabwe Commission: Killing of Protesters is 'Unjustifiable'

    Zimbabwe Commission: Killing of Protesters is 'Unjustifiable' | Photo: Reuters file

Published 19 December 2018

A Commission set up to investigate the army shooting of protesters in the aftermath of the general elections held in Zimbabwe labeled the acts 'disproportionate' and 'unjustified.'

An independent commission revealed police used disproportionate force to stomp protests in Harare, Zimbabwe killing six people, back in August.

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Zimbabwe Army Denies Shooting 6 Civilian Protesters in August

The commission reported on the issue of army and police who shot fleeing demonstrators during a post-election protest. “The commission’s finding is that the deaths of those six people arose from the action of the military and the police,” stated the report.

Rights organizations have presented dozens of videos and testimonies which corroborate reports on police shooting on fleeing protesters.

However, two generals who testified during the commission’s hearings attempted to deny the facts, “I do not believe that any of the soldiers fired in the air, but I do not believe any could have aimed shots at the civilians. I have no reason to believe that one of the soldiers could have shot and killed those people,” Defense Forces Commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda said.

Regardless of the allegations by security forces, the commission’s findings unequivocally place responsibility on the authorities, “The use of live ammunition directly at people especially while they were fleeing was clearly unjustified and disproportionate,” states the report.

The commission also stated that the violence which ensued was provoked by opposition figures.

The protests, in which army the and police clashed with civilians, took place in the context of the presidential elections held in July. Protesters claim the ruling party Zanu-FP rigged the vote.

The seven-member commission to address these events was formed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, after his narrow win. The process is seen by Zimbabweans as a test of whether his government will allow violent suppression of political dissent.

While the commission issued harsh criticisms of the military and police brutal suppression of the protest, it’s recommendations suggest “internal” disciplining for the perpetrators of the violence, according to the Camden Advertiser.

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