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Zimbabwe troops accused of systematic torture of protesters

Zimbabwe troops accused of  systematic torture  of protesters
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A government-appointed human rights group in Zimbabwe has accused soldiers of using "systematic torture" in a crackdown on protests.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission strongly criticised authorities for using troops to quell demonstrations.

Unrest broke out more than a week ago following a sharp rise in fuel prices.

Reports have emerged of assaults allegedly carried out by the military in various parts of the capital, Harare.

The BBC s Andrew Harding in Harare spoke to a man who said he and about 30 others had been rounded up and beaten by soldiers.

The continuing violence raises further questions about President Emmerson Mnangagwa s control over the military, which helped to bring him to power 14 months ago, our correspondent adds.

President Mnangagwa has promised that abuses against civilians will not be tolerated.

In a blunt statement, the commission said at least eight deaths had been reported since last week, "mostly attributed to use of live ammunition".

"Armed and uniformed members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police instigated systematic torture. The torture was organised in that they targeted men who stay near areas where barricades had been placed and near areas that were torched by protesters or looted," it said.

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Media captionRoads were barricaded by protesters last week

The commission detailed reports of security forces entering houses at night and making men, and even boys as young as 11, lie on the ground where they were then beaten.

"The deployment of the army in quelling civilian disturbances leads to loss of life and serious bodily injuries and other human rights violations, yet the government continues to make such deployments," the statement said.
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