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ok, this looks ominous.

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  • Bell, Elizabeth
    http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/africa/04/05/zimbabwe.land.reut/index.html Arson attacks waged over farmland claims in Zimbabwe April 5, 2000 Web posted at:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2000
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      Arson attacks waged over farmland claims in Zimbabwe
      April 5, 2000
      Web posted at: 12:29 PM EDT (1629 GMT)
      HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Opposition leaders and white farmers reported
      a wave of arson attacks and assaults Wednesday by supporters of President
      Robert Mugabe, pushing Zimbabwe closer to anarchy.
      Opposition and farming sources who asked not to be identified told Reuters
      of petrol-bomb attacks and beatings east, north and west of the capital
      Harare during the night.
      An estimated 3,000 veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s war for independence from
      Britain have occupied about 600 white-owned farms in support of claims for
      the redistribution of prime land taken by whites under colonial rule.
      Mugabe, who returned from the Europe-Africa Summit in Cairo early on
      Wednesday, has refused to condemn the farm invasions, and the war veterans
      say they have his support.
      The president is fighting for his political life after a referendum defeat
      in February.
      Mugabe told the state-run Ziana news agency during a flight home from a
      summit in Cairo that Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo had agreed to
      mediate between Zimbabwe and Britain.
      Mugabe had said earlier after talks with British Foreign Secretary Robin
      Cook that he would be willing to send a delegation for talks in London.
      He told Ziana, later: "He (Cook) had met with Mr. Obasanjo and other
      presidents and asked Obasanjo to assist on relations between us and
      The British government has been sharply critical of Mugabe's failure to
      condemn the occupation of about 600 mainly white-owned farms by veterans of
      the country's 1970s war for liberation from Britain.
      Britain says it has contingency plans to take in more than 20,000 Zimbabwean
      whites with British passports if the violence against them worsens.
      Eight policemen were ambushed late on Tuesday and had their automatic rifles
      taken when they tried to investigate a reported assault on a farm northeast
      of the capital.
      The policemen were being held hostage by war veterans who had occupied the
      farm, the sources said.
      "Although the farmer is being allowed to move around with his family, the
      atmosphere is very intimidating," a farm-community source told Reuters.
      Two other farmers were reportedly being detained in their homesteads by
      Earlier on Tuesday, a police officer was shot and killed during skirmishes
      on an occupied farm in the east.
      "A police officer was killed and investigations are still going on," a
      police spokesman told Reuters.
      Farmer assaulted
      He also said the owner of the farm, Ian Kay, had been assaulted during the
      scuffles, but declined to say whether any arrests had been made.
      A friend of the farmer said Kay was sent home on Wednesday after a night in
      The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said a candidate in
      parliamentary elections due between May and July, Biggie Chigovera, had his
      home burned in a fire-bomb attack early on Wednesday.
      South African radio reported another firebomb attack against an opposition
      leader in a northern suburb of Harare.
      A member of the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents about 4,500
      mainly white farmers, blamed the escalating tension on provocative
      statements by Mugabe.
      "We are not surprised that this is happening considering the statements that
      have been made," the farmer said.
      Mugabe backs war veterans
      Mugabe has said the war veterans were entitled to seize farms following the
      55 percent vote in the February referendum against his proposed new
      constitution, which would have given him the right to seize farms without
      In remarks later explained by a party official as "metaphorical," Mugabe has
      also said his critics could die for their opposition to his 20-year rule in
      the former Rhodesia.
      On Tuesday, Zimbabwe's 150-member parliament began debate on a bill which
      would amend the constitution to allow the government to acquire white farms
      with responsibility to pay compensation falling on Britain.
      Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa urged
      support for the bill, which must be approved by at least 100 legislators not
      in Mugabe's cabinet, saying it would be a logical conclusion to land
      redistribution efforts.
      "Never, never, never again shall our land be alienated from its people or
      our people from the land," Mnangagwa said.
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