Zimbabwe’s medical bodies implore end to political violence

June 9th, 2008 - 3:12 am ICT by IANS  

Harare, June 9 (DPA) Some 2,900 victims of political violence wracking Zimbabwe ahead of a presidential election run-off have been treated in hospital since elections March 29, medical specialists said Sunday. The specialist doctors in Zimbabwe, comprising surgeons, anaesthetists, physicians and paediatricians, said in a statement Sunday that over 200 people had had to be hospitalized with injuries and complications as a result of injuries.

“Sadly, a number have succumbed to their injuries,” the organization said, without giving details. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, which won parliamentary elections in March, claims that over 65 have died.

The statement added that “there have been reports of some members of the profession being involved in violence,” and said members of the association “dissociate ourselves from any members who may be directly or indirectly involved in violence.”

The statement did not name anyone.

In April however, reports cited Zimbabwe Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, a medical doctor, as appearing before a rally of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, brandishing an AK47 assault rifle in front of frightened villagers.

The National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH) warned Sunday that the violence “will continue to haunt its victims, and society, long after the violence has ended”.

“Limbs have been severed and mutilated, thus adding to the physical disability population. People have been subjected to such brutal head injuries that their sight and hearing has been affected, while some have been traumatized so much by the intensity and brutality of the violence that they have joined the ranks of the mentally challenged.”

Some children, the association added, had also been beaten up and forced to witness the their parents and other relatives being beaten or tortured.

“These children have been scarred and traumatized for life,” the NASCOH said. “They have been deprived of their future.”

According to human rights workers and doctors treating the injured, the victims have identified members of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF militia, the army and police as the perpetrators, except in a tiny minority of cases, when MDC activists have retaliated.

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