US ‘deeply concerned’ over Zimbabwe activist abduction

The United States said Friday it was “deeply concerned” by the abduction of a Zimbabwe opposition activist known for his open criticism of long-running President Robert Mugabe.

Itai Dzamara was seized by unidentified men nearly two weeks ago, according to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe’s main opposition party.


“The United States urges the Zimbabwean authorities to mobilize their full resources to locate Mr Dzamara and investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr Dzamara’s disappearance,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.

“We remain deeply concerned by the disappearance,” he said.

Tsvangirai, who was once part of a power-sharing government with Mugabe, said his party feared “the worst,” as previous activists who were reported kidnapped were later found dead.

A former journalist, Dzamara last year staged sit-in protests in Harare’s main public square demanding the resignation of Mugabe, whom he accused of destroying Zimbabwe.

During one of Dzamara’s protests, he was beaten up by activists from Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

“The United States stands with Mr Dzamara and the people of Zimbabwe in defending the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Rathke said.

Mugabe, who turned 91 last month, has ruled the troubled southern African nation since Zimbabwe overthrew white minority rule in 1980.