Monday, June 9, 2008

3000 brutalised in Zim: doctors

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe doctors have treated nearly 3,000 victims of political violence over nearly two months, a medical association said Sunday, three weeks before a tense presidential run-off.

"We have noticed with great concern the increase in politically motivated violence to our fellow Zimbabweans," Specialist Doctors in Zimbabwe said in a statement.

"Many victims, including children, are currently under our care with severe injuries sustained over the past few weeks."

The association includes the Surgical Society of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Anaesthetic Association, National Physicians of Zimbabwe and the Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe.

A total of 2,900 victims had been recorded throughout the country, it said, adding that some 200 among them had to be hospitalised. "Sadly, a number have succumbed to these injuries," the group said.

Violence has mounted ahead of the June 27 run-off, when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai will be seeking to defeat President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says around 60 of its supporters have been killed by pro-Mugabe militias.

Mugabe blames the opposition for the increase in violence, but the United Nations' chief representative in Zimbabwe has said the president's supporters are to blame for the bulk of it.

Zimbabwe's government has also suspended all aid work ahead of the vote, leading charities to warn of a possible humanitarian crisis in a nation with the world's highest inflation rate and major food shortages.

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