UNICEF children assaulted by Zanu (PF) agents

Children wearing Unicef T-shirts have become the latest target of state agents in Harare. The shirts had been handed out to members of the Youth Parliament and also to school children, but many are afraid to wear the garments in public.

Flower seller: I feel ashamed now that I did not get involved.
Flower seller: I feel ashamed now that I did not get involved.

A flower seller who runs a stall across from Meikles Hotel told The Zimbabwean that she had seen several incidents in the city.

"Just this week we have seen it again. Men in plain clothes and aged in their 30s beat up the kids wearing Unicef T-shirts," she said. "From our tables we saw the whole thing and the men did not seem to care. They told the boys that next time someone would die."

The woman said the men were often at Meikles and worked at the Zanu (PF) office on Fourth Street.

"The boys had their shirts removed and received some slaps," she said. "The worst thing is that none of us tried to help because there is such a fear these days. I feel ashamed now that I did not get involved."

From Meikles, the men moved on to the corner of Nelson Mandela Avenue and Third Street where they stripped more youths including one girl. "Lucky she had something on under her T-shirt or she would have been exposed," the woman said.

She said she could not be sure whether the men were from CIO or just party workers. "It was better when the militia were in green uniforms because then we knew who was what. Now you can't be sure who is standing next to you."

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