'Internal Zimbabwean police documents passed to the Guardian suggest the army has been responsible for murder, rape and armed robbery during the ongoing brutal crackdown in the southern African country.
In more than a dozen investigation reports shared with the Guardian by police officials frustrated at the apparent impunity of the military, a series of alleged attacks are described, including two murders and the rape of a 15-year-old girl.
Police investigators wrote that all the acts were committed by men wearing army “uniforms” or “camouflage” – a style of wording allowing the police to avoid making direct accusations against the powerful military.
Officially, the Zimbabwe Republic police, the national police force, has blamed the violence on criminal “rogue elements” who have stolen army uniforms, and said the charges of widespread abuses by security and the armed forces have been fabricated. But in most cases described in the documents seen by the Guardian, the assailants carried automatic weapons, which few people other than soldiers and police possess.
At least 12 people are thought to have died when security forces opened fire on civilians during a three-day shutdown called by unions after a fuel price rise this month. One police officer is believed to have been killed. The death toll is expected to rise.
The violence is the worst in Zimbabwe for at least a decade and has dashed any remaining hopes that the end of the 37-year rule of the autocratic leader Robert Mugabe 14 months ago would lead to significant political reform.
The leak of the documents suggests increasing tensions between the military and people within civilian law enforcement agencies.'
Read more: Zimbabwean police files implicate army in widespread abuses
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