In 2008 neighbours reported hearing ‘blood curdling screams’ coming from the house during one evening. On another night they reported smelling burning flesh. Another house said to be used by the CIO is along Enterprise Road, next door to the Highlands Presbyterian Church. Again the building is a large white double story house with heavily burglar barred windows.
In Masvingo the CIO has an office at 10153 Lundi Star Drive in the city’s Rhodene suburb. Deployed there is a notorious middle ranking CIO officer known as Nick Maunze. Last year he threatened journalist Godfrey Mutimba with unspecified action over a story he wrote for a local paper. Maunze even bragged that he once forced former MDC MP Job Sikhala to drink urine during a torture session in 2003.
Referring to Sikhala, Maunze said: “I am the one who forced Sikhala to drink urine when he was arrested and it is not hard for me at all to deal with an even smaller fish and useless reporters like you. What will you do to me?” Maunze, who is reported to run a supermarket at Yeukai Business Centre, was also implicated in the murder of an MDC-T activist in Chivi.
Not all abductions result in CIO operatives taking their victims to their offices for interrogation and torture. The agency also has a habit of taking victims to abandoned farms, killing them and dumping their bodies there. In March 2007 freelance cameramen Edward Chikomba, a former employee of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, was found dead in Darwendale outside Harare.
Chikomba was kidnapped from his Glen View home at gunpoint by 4 suspected CIO agents who forced him into a 4×4 vehicle and drove off. According to his wife who witnessed the abduction, Chikomba said he knew he was in danger when he saw the four men arrive at their house and said: ‘I am dead’. It’s alleged that Chikomba’s ‘crime’ was that he provided film footage of a badly beaten Tsvangirai to foreign news media.
In another example Abigail Chiroto, the wife of Emmanuel Chiroto the MDC-T deputy Mayor of Harare, was also abducted from her home in June 2008. A mob of Zanu (PF) militants, including CIO agents based at the Hatcliffe office, descended on the Chiroto home. On seeing Chiroto was not there they destroyed the house using a petrol bomb then they abducted Abigail and 4 year-old son Ashley.
Fortunately for Ashley the mob decided to dump him outside a police station but his mother was not as lucky as they took her to a nearby farm. Two days later on the 18th June Abigail was found brutally murdered. She was discovered with a gunshot wound to the head and a deep cut on her stomach. A post-mortem report showed she had been savagely assaulted and her limbs broken.
The use of farms as a dumping ground for murdered activists is a trend all too familiar with the CIO. – SW Radio AfricaPost published in: News