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Zimbabwe army used ‘unjustifiable’ force in post-election clashes

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Zimbabwe’s military used “unjustifiable” force against opposition protesters in the wake of this year’s presidential election, an inquiry has found.

Six people were killed after troops intervened to curb protests in the capital, Harare, on 1 August.

The independent commission said the army had acted disproportionately when it fired on fleeing demonstrators.

But it blamed some opposition figures for inciting the violence.

The army and police clashed with demonstrators who took to the streets amid allegations that the ruling Zanu-PF party had rigged the 30 July vote.

“The commission’s finding is that the deaths of those six people arose from the action of the military and the police,” a summary of the final report reads.

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“The use of live ammunition directly at people especially while they were fleeing was clearly unjustified and disproportionate,” it adds.

The seven-member commission, which was set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa following his narrow victory, found the deployment of the military to have been legal.

It also accused the opposition MDC Alliance of enflaming tensions, citing speeches from some of its leaders.

“Had the riots not been checked the situation could have escalated resulting in disastrous consequences,” it said.

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