CHIMANIMANI – About 500 people have fled from their homes in Cashel Valley and Mutambara after armed militants and Zanu PF supporters attacked their homes.
The attack began on Saturday.
War veterans, soldiers and Zanu PF youths who are camped at Cashel Valley moved from house to house beating up villagers accusing them of not supporting Robert Mugabe’s bid to retain the country’s presidency.
On Monday they descended on Mutambara Mission school and hospital where they indiscriminately attacked residents at the mission. One man from Cashel Valley was shot dead and three were seriously injured and taken to Mutambara Mission Hospital.
Another man identified as Musere, an elderly farm labourer at the mission, is missing amid fears the Zanu PF militants abducted him.
“People are sleeping in the mountains,” said one victim who fled to Mutare. “Those of us who are lucky have managed to come all this way to Mutare.”
The victim refused to be identified.
There were fears authorities at the mission could close down both the school and the hospital because of the intensifying violence.
Another victim who fled at the dead of the night on Monday said gunfire sound was heard throughout the previous night.
War veterans and soldiers camped at a Zanu PF base in Cashel Valley are armed with AK rifles an assortment of light arms, sources said on Tuesday.
“It is very frightening,” he said, “But the biggest worry is that all these is happening while the police are just watching and not doing anything.”
Cashel Valley and Mutambara are in Chimanimani West. The constituency was won by MDC; s Lynette Karinye who beat Cabinet Minister Munacho Mutezo.
Mutezo was not immediately available for comment as his mobile phone was continuously not reachable.
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland said the violence has also spread to Nedziwa and other surrounding areas.
"It's frightening," Muchauraya said, "The level of violence against our supporters is now very alarming. It is not only in Chimanimani but throughout the province."
The violence in Chimanimani West is calculated at cowing voters not to cast their ballots in favour of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who squares it up with the Zanu PF ageing leader, Mugabe, who lost the March 29 vote.
Tsvangirai won the poll but not with enough votes to form a government. Political analysts believe Tsvangirai can win the June 27 run –off if it is conducted in a free and fair environment. But if the violence against perceived opposition supporters and sympathizers continue as the case, a Zanu PF victory is beckoning.
Victims of the Chimanimnai violence said the Zanu PF militants are threatening an all out war should Mugabe lose the run off.