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BBC revives propaganda blitz against Zimbabwe
Posted: Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Herald Reporter

THE BBC has revived its propaganda blitz against the Government ahead of next year's parliamentary elections, claiming the Government has set up secret camps across the country in which thousands of youths are taught how to rape, torture and kill.

The camps being referred to by the BBC are national youth service training centres and it claims that those who have escaped from the camps "say they are part of a brutal plan to keep (President) Mugabe in power".

In its story the BBC claimed that it spoke to some recruits on its Panorama programme "about a horrific training programme that breaks young teenagers down before encouraging them to commit atrocities".

It claimed that Panorama also learnt that some of the recruits are taught to torture Government opponents.

During covert filming inside Zimbabwe, Panorama claimed it spoke to a camp commander who told the programme that youths in his camp had been sent to kill opponents of President Mugabe.

He said: "In the area I am covering I heard of two. My superiors instructed that the people must be eliminated."

The BBC also falsely claimed President Mugabe now wants every Zimbabwean youth to undergo training.

"We have been told they will be used to intimidate political opponents in next year*s elections. These guys are going to be used by the ruling party to keep the opposition out of power," the said commander was quoted saying.

In the past the BBC has heightened its propaganda against the Government each time elections draw near.

There have been false reports in the Western media in the past of youths claiming to have escaped from the training centres and confessing to committing rape, torture and murder in the country.

Some opposition elements including church leaders notably Archbishop Pius Ncube, who dabbles in opposition politics and is a staunch Government critic, have appeared at Press conferences where the Western and South African media are invited, flanked by youths supposedly confessing to raping, torturing and murdering opponents of the Government.

Last year in September, Archbishop Ncube appeared at a Press conference in Johannesburg, South Africa with youths confessing to such acts.

The press conference was held to release a report alleging human rights abuses under the National Youth Service.

The Government has since barred the BBC from covering events in the country because of its biased reporting and propaganda.

In July 2001, the Government suspended the accreditation of all BBC correspondents in the country.

¤ US widens its sanctions against Zimbabwe

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