• Short Summary

    In Zimbabwe, nine members of Joshua Nkomo's Patriotic Front party, including one member of parliament, have been detained in Salisbury and Bulawayo by the Special Branch.

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    CU Home Affairs Minister Joshua Nkomo speaking in English and replying to reporter's questions (2 SHOTS)

    TRANSCRIPTS: NKOMO: "Well, there are eight so far, eight in Bulawayo and one here, that is nine. but the number ...we understand they are still looking for quite a number of them."

    BORRELL: "Have any reasons been given for the arrest of these people?"

    NKOMO: "None whatsoever. I haven't been told what the reasons were."

    BORRELL: Now you're the minister responsible for the police, these arrests were undertaken without your knowledge at all."

    NKOMO: "Yes, they were undertaken without my knowledge. They were undertaken by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office, Comrade Muanangagwe. You know that early in the year there was a misunderstanding, before I took up office, when the Special Branch was pulled out of the main body of the police. I made it clear to the Prime Minister that my fear was that such action may create a political police force, outside the main police force - it would appear that we are just there now."

    BORRELL: "Now these arrests follow searches on a number of your properties for weapons by the police, and again this was undertaken without your knowledge, is there any connection, do you think, between the arrests and these searches?"

    NKOMO: "I don't know whether there is any connection, because I was told that the results were disappointing...the results of searches they were disappointing...and I said well were they disappointed that you got too many weapons? He said no, because we got no weapons. Well what are you talking about isn't this encouraging, because you got no weapons, none whatsoever, and so it should be encouraging. If any people thought there were weapons, then they know that there were no weapons."

    BORRELL: "Now a number of these people, were they in fact people who had been detained by previous administrations in this country, Mr. Smith's government for example?"

    NKOMO: "Almost all of them...for long detention by Smith's regime."

    BORRELL: "What law are they being held under?"

    NKOMO: "I am not very certain, honesty I couldn't tell you what law.

    BORRELL: "Do you hope to have further discussions with the Prime Minister about this?"

    NKOMO: "Well it's important to discover why...and what he intends doing next with these men."

    BORRELL: "And finally, do you think that this kind of action jeopardises the peace that exists in Zimbabwe particularly following the outbreaks of fighting that we have had in recent weeks?"

    NKOMO: "I think that it is the most reckless action one would expect to take place at this particular moment."

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Zimbabwe, nine members of Joshua Nkomo's Patriotic Front party, including one member of parliament, have been detained in Salisbury and Bulawayo by the Special Branch. In a press conference on Friday (21 November) Mr. Nkomo side the arrests had been carried out without his knowledge even though his ministry is responsible for the police. He said that the men were detained on the orders of the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, Mr. Emmerson Munangagwa. The arrests followed recent clashes between supporters of Mr. Nkomo and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe in which over sixty people are reported to have died. The BBC's John Borrell asked Mr. Nkomo about the arrests and if he could confirm how many people have been detained.

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