'Systematic torture and rape' in Zimbabwe
A violent crackdown continued yesterday in Zimbabwe as rights groups alleged that women had been raped during house-to-house searches, while the government criticised a report by its own rights commission that said security forces had used "systematic torture".
Zimbabweans say abuses have not calmed since President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday denounced the violence as "unacceptable".
The unrest began last week as people protested a steep increase in fuel prices that made petrol the world's most expensive. The government accuses the opposition of stirring up trouble.
The army asserts that uniformed perpetrators of abuses are "bogus elements" out to tarnish its image.
Fearful residents in poor and working-class suburbs of the capital, Harare, and second city, Bulawayo, are locking themselves in at night. At least 12 people have been killed in the unrest and more than 300 wounded, scores with gunshot wounds, doctors and rights workers have said.
"We have received very disturbing reports of a number of cases of women allegedly raped by members of security forces," said Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa director for Human Rights Watch.
He added: "Beatings, harassment and other abuses have continued after Mnangagwa's return."