Zimbabwe white farmers face attacks despite court protection

July 1st, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Harare, July 1 (DPA) As African Union (AU) leaders meeting in Egypt continued to debate a solution to Zimbabwe’s political crisis, white farmers in the country continued to be chased off their farms, despite an order from a regional court protecting them from eviction. AU heads of state were meeting for a second day in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh for a summit overshadowed by Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe’s controversial re-election as president last week in elections he alone contested.

Three African observer teams, including a 40-strong AU team, have concluded the election, which was characterized by violence and was boycotted by the opposition, was undemocratic.

Despite Mugabe coming under growing international and African condemnation, state-backed youth militia continued their attacks on supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change.

South Africa’s Business Day newspaper reported that the remaining few white farmers in the country were packing their bags following renewed attacks by the militia, also called war veterans, at the weekend.

Among the victims of the latest attacks are farmer Mike Campbell and his family, who had obtained an order from a regional court protecting them from eviction under the government’s controversial land reform programme.

The elderly Campbell, his wife and his son-in-law were abducted for several hours and beaten, with the husband and wife sustaining broken bones, the Justice for Agriculture (JAG) group in Zimbabwe reported.

The attack came despite the tribunal of the regional political body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), ordering the Zimbabwean government to halt the eviction of Campbell’s farm, pending a full hearing in Zimbabwe on the legality of the land seizures.

In March the tribunal extended that protection to a further 73 farmers. Their case is due to be heard in the Namibia-based court later this month.

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