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Anti-riot police quash doctors` demo

Anti-riot police on Tuesday dispersed a group of medical doctors who staged a demonstration at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) demanding the release of abducted Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights Association (ZHDA) acting president, Peter Magombeyi.

The protest follows two other demonstrations which were held at Mpilo Hospital on Monday and in Harare.

Magombeyi was allegedly abducted on the night of September 14 in Budirio, Harare by suspected state agents.

Before his disappearance, it is reported that Dr Magombeyi had been receiving threatening messages for leading a nationwide strike for doctors.

The placard-waving doctors numbering about 50, marched from UBH towards the Bulawayo Central Police station in the city centre when anti-riot police, armed with batons, blocked them and ordered them to disperse.

After a few confrontations, the protesters relented and marched back to the hospital.  

Some of the doctors who spoke to CITE said they wanted the police to investigate a mobile number which had been used to send threatening messages to Dr Magombeyi.

“We want answers from the police, why are they quiet when they were given the number that was threatening Dr Peter Magombeyi, what is stopping them from investigating to find him,” said one doctor.

The doctors vowed to continue with the industrial action until the missing union leader was found.

“As Doctors we are going to do this everyday until he is found, we are not going to go back to work, even though the riot police stopped us but we will never tire until he is found.

“We had sacrificed our time to walk to Bulawayo Central Police Station, we do not have money to board public transport or put fuel in our cars to get to the police station, so we opted to walk so that we can go and inquire answers,” said another doctor.

Meanwhile, the government has denied any responsibility on Dr Magombeyi`s disappearance claiming that it was the work of a third force.

“The Government under the new dispensation is totally averred to practices that put the lives of any citizen in danger. We, therefore, find it very curious that whenever there is an impending international gathering or a high profile visit to Zimbabwe, these criminal acts are always perpetrated on our innocent citizens,” said Foreign Affairs official, Joel Muzuwa, in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is still fresh in ow minds that towards the SADC Summit M Tanzania last month, the country was gripped with numerous abductions of our citizens by people whose aim we can only believe was to tarnish the image of the country regionally, continentally and internationally. We have no doubt that the latest abduction of Dr.Peter Magombeyi was meant to coincide with the visit to Zimbabwe by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.”

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