THE CATHOLIC Justice and Peace Commission of Zimbabwe has reported that the Government of Robert Mugabe has not challenged its recent accounts of troop atrocities carried out against the Ndebele tribe of southern Matabeleland.
In their June newsletter the commission "wishes to make it clear that the report on current events in the curfew areas in Matabeleland South has, as yet, not been challenged". The Commission added that they had "ample evidence" to prove allegations of rape, murder and maiming of civilians in the province by government troops seeking out dissidents.
The Comtnission noted that they had not published their reports on atrocities in Matabeleland, an area of strong support for the opposition leader, Josua Nkomo. Their reason for this was so as to facilitate reconciliation, they said, rather than promote conflict.
The general tone of the newsletter was conciliatory, calling for dialogue with the Government. The Commission attacked unnamed people who "took it upon themselves to be individual spokesmen on sensitive issues".
This was taken by observers in Harare to mean individual churchmen who spoke out against the atrocities. Most prominent among them was Fr Jon Gough who spoke of a government campaign of 'genocide" in Matabeleland.
The violence in Matabeleland continues. According to reports from the area, dissidents killed a villager and burned a clinic near Dete last week.