In Zimbabwe, Opposition leader Joshua Nkomo has expressed concern about the alleged mistreatment of civilians in the government's crackdown on dissidents.
SV Joshua Nkomo, leader of opposition ZAPU party speaking about government's treatment of dissidents (SOT)
TRANSCRIPT SEQUENCE ONE:
NKOMO: "The point is we are not talking about the dissidents as such now. We are talking about the killing by the Fifth Brigade. You don't control a dissident situation by becoming more dissident yourself. Because what is happening with this brigade...I think it is becoming more dangerous to the security of the country than the dissidents themselves. This is what we have been calling on the government to stop. But not to stop trying to handle dissident situation. Nobody would ask them to do that. But to kill innocent women and children and let people sit down, lie down and shoot them...even the dissidents themselves, the law of this country doesn't allow that you just kill them. You arrest them and you take them to court and they are executed by the laws of the land. That's how to expect things to happen but if they are danger to those who are seeking them, of course they shoot them. But this is not what is happening. Ordinary people are just shot straight."
VISNEWS REPORTER: "You are convinced that the Fifth Brigade is killing innocent civilians?"
nkomo: "Yes indeed, indeed, I am prepared to stand for that in any court, prepared to stand for that. And I have proof of it."
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Background: In Zimbabwe, Opposition leader Joshua Nkomo has expressed concern about the alleged mistreatment of civilians in the government's crackdown on dissidents. His protest over the situation coincided with appeals from church groups and international relief organisations for a government inquiry. Questions were asked in Parliament on February 16 about the allegation by civilians that the National Army, and the Fifth Brigade in particular, were committing atrocities in Matabeleland. Refugees from the area claim that government troops in their search of dissident guerrillas have indiscrimately beaten and killed villagers. Matabeleland is the base for dissident Zipra guerrillas, formerly loyal to Mr. Nkomo. Government sources admit a number of dissidents and their collaborators may have died in military operations and concede some innocent people had suffered. Mr Nkomo was outspoken on this point saying that national forces were more dangerous to national security than the dissidents themselves. He claimed that civilians were treated worse than dissidents who were at least taken to court and dealt with by law. He said he had proof of the crimes committed and would stand witness to the brutality in any court.