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Journalists threatened with disappearance

Police yesterday briefly detained journalists covering the ZCTU-led protests against job losses in Harare and threatened them with the Itai Dzamara-style disappearance.

by our staff

The police manhandled three journalists Obey Manayiti (The Standard), AFP correspondent Reagan Mashavave and freelance ANN7 TV correspondent Pindai Dube who were covering the protests and bundled them into their truck.
The three were monitoring the situation from a distant when a plain-clothed police officer identified them and ordered their arrest.

Despite the journalists identifying themselves, the armed police forced them into their police truck that had 10 riot police officers on board.

According to the journalists, the same plain-clothed police officer who had also jumped into the police truck then threatened the journalists saying they would suffer for trying to be brave for nothing and could “go the Dzamara way”.

“If you want to play brave young men you will go the Dzamara way. Do you know where Dzamara is right now? Leave those things alone and don’t go about calling Dzamara’s name and making silly demands about him,” he said before the other uniformed police details in the truck joined in saying journalists thought they were important as if their profession is anything special.

The journalists were however released a few moments later at Harare Central Police Station.
Dzamara was abducted in March by suspected state agents and his whereabouts are still unknown, five months down the line.

ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said it was unprofessional on the part of police to act in the manner they did especially when they openly showed they had no appreciation of how the media worked.

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