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Cablegate: Opposition Headquarters Raided Again

VZCZCXRO1268
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0533 1751637
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231637Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3068
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2083
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2203
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0745
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1480
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1838
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2259
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4690
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1349
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS HARARE 000533

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR S. HILL
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS
STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION HEADQUARTERS RAIDED AGAIN

REF: HARARE 522

1. (SBU) On June 23, MDC opposition headquarters, located
in a downtown Harare building known as Harvest House, was
raided by police, and internally displaced persons (IDPs)
were seized for the second time since the March 29 national
election (reftel). Acting on reports from local sources that
a raid had taken place, poloffs arrived at Harvest House
shortly after the incident and, along with a SADC observer
mission team who poloffs had informed of the raid, were
briefed by MDC staffers. The MDC staff member in charge of
assisting about 2,600 IDPs who had taken shelter in Harvest
House in the past two months (reftel) informed the diplomats
and SADC observers that on the morning of June 23 they had
been tipped off that there would be a raid on the
headquarters during the day. As a result, staff informed the
IDPs, and those who could left the building for the day,
leaving behind about 30 persons who were too ill, injured or
elderly to escape.

2. (SBU) At approximately 12:15 p.m., 10 individuals
claiming to be "City Health" officials arrived on the
premises and demanded to "inspect" the property. Junior MDC
staff opened the door (without checking with senior staff on
upper levels) and let them in. Some of the Harvest House
staff recognized the "health officials" as Central
Intelligence officers. The CIO were immediately followed
into Harvest House by an estimated 50 armed police officers
in riot gear. MDC staff reported that police had cordoned
off the street on which Harvest House is located and that
"many" more police were stationed outside. The police, who
did not offer a warrant or other justification for the
intrusion, proceeded to force all the remaining IDPs onto a
bus. (NOTE: No MDC staff were taken, nor were any
high-level MDC officials present. END NOTE.) Police
proceeded to take pictures of the areas where IDPs had been
staying and where their belongings remained, and questioned
staff as to the whereabouts of the others. Later in the day,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights reported that the IDPs who
were taken from Harvest House were not in Harare Central
Prison as previously expected, and they may have been taken
outside of Harare and left in a rural area, as has occurred
in previous cases where police have detained IDPs.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: Given the fragile condition of those IDPs
who were seized and the further displacement of those who
fled Harvest House this morning, there is reason to be
seriously concerned about the health and safety of all 2,600.
The motivation for the raid is unknown, but it was likely to
continue the campaign of intimidation and instability for the
MDC and its supporters. As noted SADC observers were
present; we also saw several members of the Pan African
Parliament at Harvest House investigating the incident. END
COMMENT.

McGee

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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