Politics: Zimbabwe’s main opposition accuses police of abducting youth leaders

Three Zimbabwe opposition youth leaders were beaten and sexually assaulted before being dumped on a road outside the capital Harare, their party said Friday.

Joanna Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri claim they were abducted by police at a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party protest in Harare on Wednesday. The prominent members of the MDC’s youth wing went missing for two days.

“They tell us they were taken into police custody… thoroughly beaten, thoroughly assaulted and even sexually abused,” MDC leader Nelson Chamisa told reporters after visiting the trio in hospital.

Chimbiri recalled the ordeal from her hospital bed, where she was recovering from multiple beatings.

“They took us to the central police station and the next thing we knew we were in a black lorry,” Chimbiri said between sobs.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has turned increasingly repressive since he came to power after the fall of Robert Mugabe in 2017.

Amnesty International last year accused Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe deputy nicknamed “the crocodile”, of a “ruthless” and systematic crackdown on human rights.

The European Union on Friday said it was “deeply concerned” about the “torture and humiliation” reported by the MDC members and urged authorities to investigate their “enforced disappearance”.