Church of Scotland calls for end to violence in Zimbabwe

In this Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 photo, Keith Frymore, a 21 year old security guard points to his torn lip after he was assaulted by a group of uniformed soldiers in Harare, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe on Friday faced a "total internet shutdown," a media group said, after a days-long violent crackdown on people protesting a dramatic fuel price increase. Badly injured people streamed into a hospital in the capital after alleged assaults by security forces. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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The Church of Scotland has urged the international community to intervene in the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.

Former Moderator, Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, said the Church’s World Mission Council was “deeply disturbed” by the situation in the southern African country, which has seen a brutal crackdown on people protesting against a 150 per cent rise in fuel prices.

Action by the police and army followed a breakdown in law and order in Harare and Bulawayo two weeks ago which led to some looting and rioting.

Twelve people were shot dead by police while many more were assaulted amid the worst violence seen in Zimbabwe in ten years.

Observers say there is now a “warlike feeling in the air” in parts of the land-locked country, which borders Zambia.

The Council of Churches in Zambia is a partner of the Church of Scotland.

It, along with other civil groups, has urged the Zimbabwean government to stop the persecution of citizens and called on the international community to intervene.

The statement is fully endorsed by the Church of Scotland, which has urged the Scottish and UK Governments to make representations.

It said: “Civil society in Zambia remains deeply concerned with the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe and the reported human rights violations against citizens of the state.

“As civil rights groups, we are particularly concerned about the reported beatings, arrest and killings of unarmed citizens who were peacefully demonstrating against the dire economic situation in Zimbabwe.

The civil groups urged leaders in Zimbabwe to be “magnanimous” and address the suffering of the people.

“The onus lies with President Mnangagwa to be all inclusive in finding a lasting solution to the many challenges that the country faces,” the statement said.