Saturday, July 03, 2004

Zimbabwe: opposition leader escapes attack

Ax-wielding assailants attacked a gathering where Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was speaking Friday, in what his aide called a failed bid to eliminate President Robert Mugabe's strongest critic.

Tsvangirai was addressing a provincial gathering [in Mvurwi, 60 miles north of Harare] when attackers from the ruling ZANU-PF party arrived in a convoy of vehicles, his spokesman William Bango said. (source)
Around 200 attackers were involved and several MDC supporters were injured.

Toning down the "assassination" claim ...
"It is an exaggeration to say it was an assassination attempt against him (Tsvangirai), but he could certainly have been killed," said opposition lawmaker David Coltart, who spoke with Tsvangirai shortly afterward [after the attack]. (source)
In a separate statement, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba-Nyathi also claimed that the situation could have been worse if the attackers hadn't been confronted by MDC youths.