Britain harboring Zanu PF War Criminals

LONDON, — Hundreds of suspected war criminals including 32 Zanu PF terrorists have found harbor in Britain despite attempts to bring them to justice, the government reports.\r\n

Over five years, a special war crimes unit in the Border Agency has called for action against 495 people for genocide, torture and crimes against humanity, but its report to the parliamentary group on genocide shows only a fifth have been deported, refused entry or left, The Guardian reported.

The 383 suspects still at large include 105 from Iraq, 75 from Afghanistan, 73 from Sri Lanka, 39 from Rwanda, 32 from Zimbabwe and 26 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are said to include top Saddam Hussein henchmen and ranking Afghan and Congolese officials involved in torture.

New laws providing for domestic prosecutions of suspected war criminals have not yielded a single case, and there have been no new investigations, London’s Metropolitan Police say.

"The biggest problem is the lack of resources dedicated to investigating these serious cases and that we often don’t know where these individuals are," said MP Michael McCann. "It means that if an arrest warrant is issued there is little likelihood it can be served."

Meanwhile, violence has surged in Zimbabwe with reports of mob attacks, death threats, politically motivated arrests and at least one shooting ahead of possible elections, civil rights groups claim.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims youth militias loyal to Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party are "running amok" in poor townships, and accuses the police of siding with the offenders.

Analysts regard the upsurge as a warning sign that Mugabe is gearing up for elections, possibly as early as June, and fear a repeat of the 2008 polls in which the MDC says 253 people died.

"Violence is certainly escalating and we are really worried," said Nelson Chamisa, a government minister and MDC spokesman. "I think it’s the talk about elections. Zanu-PF has not graduated from its traditional ways of transacting politics by using violence."

Chamisa saw few grounds for optimism. "Zanu-PF are determined to crush the country," he added. "They don’t care; they never have. There is a danger of worse violence. We still want to see a clear roadmap implemented for a free, fair and credible election."

Reports of politically inspired attacks have grown steadily in recent weeks. An MDC youth leader, William Mukuwari, claims he was assaulted and shot in the leg by a gang including a Zanu-PF chairperson in Budiriro township last month.

Trouble erupted on Monday outside an MDC district office in Mbare, a township in the capital, Harare. At least 70 pro-Mugabe militants were trucked in to throw stones and carry out assaults, an independent doctors’ group said today. The rampaging mob sang Zanu-PF songs and slogans and carried party flags.

Several MDC members were treated for "grave injuries" after the disturbances, the doctors said. Seven people were arrested but "there are no reports of perpetrators being arrested".

The MDC also claims that police are refusing to arrest Zanu-PF members. It said: "The police have become openly and undisputedly partisan in that in cases of any skirmishes involving youths from rival political parties, it is the MDC that suffers most.

"At the moment, dozens of MDC youths have been arrested and charged with public violence, a sizeable number is nursing gunshot and stab wounds in hospitals, hundreds are being hounded out of their homes, and MDC property is being destroyed with impunity."

On Wednesday armed riot police reportedly sealed off the downtown offices of the Harare city council as it was besieged by mobs chanting Zanu-PF slogans. Council staff fled the building.

A number of groups have warned of a rising political temperature. The Southern Africa Coalition for the Survivors of Torture reported that tensions in Zimbabwe rose markedly in January.

ZimRights, a human rights organisation, said "high density suburbs in Harare are rapidly turning into warzones". It warned the MDC against an armed response that "brings to mind civil unrest in Egypt which is resulting in unwarranted loss of life".

John Makumbe, a Harare-based political scientist, told IRIN: "What you see is the tip of the iceberg. More violence is taking place in rural areas and going unreported.

"State agents are now part of the organised violence, and there is bound to be a sharp increase in political disturbances in the coming months. If the elections are [held] there will be bloodshed."