Activists ‘abducted’ ahead of Zimbabwe protests: rights groups

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At least six opposition and rights activists were abducted and tortured by unidentified assailants in Zimbabwe ahead of planned protests against worsening economic problems, rights groups charged on Thursday.

“We note with regret that six people so far were abducted by suspected state agents in the evening of 13 and 14 August 2019, and they have been severely tortured and left for dead,” said a statement released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of 21 human rights groups.

Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) plans to launch protest marches on Friday against the worsening economy, defying government threats to stop them.If they go ahead, the protests will be the first since rallies in January against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to hike fuel prices that ended in deadly clashes with troops.

The MDC has blamed the government for the abductions this week, saying they follow a familiar pattern of a government under pressure.

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