Zanu PF used HIV positive prisoners to rape MDC-T supporters

Zanu PF used HIV positive prisoners to rape MDC-T supporters
Published: 2015 June 17 20:00:19 (10011 Views)
Zimbabwe's Zanu (PF) allegedly used HIV-positive prisoners to rape female supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai during the 2008 presidential run-off period, it has been claimed.

Rape was used as part of the terror campaign against opposition supporters and was a closely guarded weapon involving the security sector.

Prison sources told The Zimbabwean that an unknown number of prisoners were released after the March 2008 general elections and unleashed on women who were actual or perceived members of the opposition.

"Prisoners were screened and if confirmed to be HIV-positive but relatively healthy, they were released from jail into the hands of a crack unit comprising the army, CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) and the police," said a retired senior prison officer.

"The prisoners then underwent some orientation and training and were informed that they were being recruited as officers in return for their freedom. Some of them were given police uniforms while others joined militias terrorising the opposition."

He said the released prisoners worked under the close command of members of the crack team, raping women and infecting them with HIV.

"This is one gruesome tactic that was used but has never been talked about. Many women are likely to have been infected with the deadly virus and a lot of children born after the rape are likely to have been victims too," he added.

A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that individuals who were not known to them were given police uniforms as a disguise to gain access to targeted victims, among them women.



The Zimbabwean has in the past carried testimonies by women who were raped by people who purported to be police officers.

In one such case, two men driving an unmarked Isuzu KB truck and dressed as police officers approached a woman from Epworth and offered to show her where her murdered husband was. The husband was an MDC councillor in Epworth and he had disappeared.

As the two men drove along the Mutare highway, one of them jabbed the woman with a syringe that contained an unknown substance.

The woman regained consciousness at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare and subsequently discovered that she had fallen pregnant, later giving birth to a girl who is now six.

"It is normal that CIO or military officers are seconded to the police and actually wear our uniform, so some of us thought that is where they were coming from," said the police officer.

The retired prison officer said he learnt that some of the prisoners who had been recruited into the rape gang fled and several were recaptured and returned to prison.

"Various reasons were given for their release from prison, among them that they were going on indications (helping police investigators in on-going cases), after which they were reported to have escaped," said the ex-chief superintendent.

Victims were largely unable to report the rape because the police refused to listen to them or turned them into accused persons on fabricated charges.



Source - The Zimbabwean

Tags: HIV, rape, politics,
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