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Published: May 29, 2010
Mutare(ZimEye)The director for the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) at the disputed Chiadzwa diamond fields , Farai Maguwu, has gone missing and his whereabouts are still unknown as Police and the country’s Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) hunt him down.
The CRD is to date the only NGO in Zimbabwe reporting on-site-human rights abuses in the country´s diamond fields.
ZimEye is informed that Maguwu had a meeting on Tuesday with the Kimberley Process monitor, Abbey Chikane in Zimbabwe at Holiday Inn Mutare, after-which time hid deputy, James Mupfumi, was arrested in the afternoon whilst on his way back to the office. According to the ZPP (Zimbabwe Peace Project) the police officers took also some documents from the centre’s offices before heading for Maguwu’s home in Hobhouse, a few kilometres away from the popular Chikanga suburb.
That afternoon Maguwu was still at his home but by the time the police got to his house he had runaway. The police interrogated James for Farai’s house details. A man said to be Maguwu’s younger brother along with another man instead were arrested on unknown charges. Because of these arrests and the raid at the office, the rest of the CRD staff are in hiding scared for their lives. James was only realesd on Thursday at 19:00hrs.
Speaking to ZimEye Saturday morning, one of the staff members said:
“Nothing has changed” pointing out that they were all still on the run. “Currently I am still hiding (together) with other CRD staff. We are afraid of our lives,” he said.
The attack on the CRD follows statements by President Robert Mugabe Friday in which he criticised the work of the CRD linking it with Britain America:
”They have been heard saying what happens to our sanctions if Zimbabwe sells its diamonds? It is the regime change agenda all the time,” Mugabe said.
Maguwu has been outspoken in exposing the human rights atrocities at Chiadzwa adn met with the international diamond expert this week to give evidence of ongoing abuses at the hands of the military and the rampant smuggling. Chikane was appointed by the international diamond trade watchdog the Kimberley Process, to monitor Zimbabwe’s attempts to fall in line with trade standards said on Thursday that the country was “on the right track.”
His comments were not true according to evidence that was at the CRD offices.
Blessing Nyamaropa, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, on Friday went to the Mutare Central Police Station to try and give legal representation to Maguwu’s young brother. The details of the charges that he is being detained on have not yet been made clear. Maguwu’s whereabouts remain unknown as attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful. (ZimEye, Zimbabwe) [Additional reporting - swradioafrica]