Mugabe’s goons threaten to burn U.S. diplomats alive

ALESSANDRO DI MEO/AFP/Getty Images Apparently you don’t have to be an opposition leader seeking democratic reforms to get arrested in Zimbabwe — just being a foreign diplomat can be enough. U.S. and British diplomats were seized by Zimbabwean police today while visiting victims of political violence carried out by the government of President Robert Mugabe, ...

594729_080605_mugabe2.jpg
594729_080605_mugabe2.jpg

ALESSANDRO DI MEO/AFP/Getty Images

Apparently you don't have to be an opposition leader seeking democratic reforms to get arrested in Zimbabwe -- just being a foreign diplomat can be enough. U.S. and British diplomats were seized by Zimbabwean police today while visiting victims of political violence carried out by the government of President Robert Mugabe, whom human rights groups accuse of creating famine and starvation for political purposes.

Here's James D. McGee, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, describing the incident to CNN:

ALESSANDRO DI MEO/AFP/Getty Images

Apparently you don’t have to be an opposition leader seeking democratic reforms to get arrested in Zimbabwe — just being a foreign diplomat can be enough. U.S. and British diplomats were seized by Zimbabwean police today while visiting victims of political violence carried out by the government of President Robert Mugabe, whom human rights groups accuse of creating famine and starvation for political purposes.

Here’s James D. McGee, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, describing the incident to CNN:

Police put up a roadblock, stopped the vehicles, slashed the tires, reached in and grabbed telephones from my personnel, and the war veterans (Mugabe’s supporters) threatened to burn the vehicles with my people inside unless they got out and accompanied police to a station nearby.”

McGee added that his embassy felt the orders were “coming directly from the top.” Whoever gave the orders, threatening to burn foreign dignitaries alive is a step beyond the usual Mugabe bullying. It’s sickening. 

Will this be the moment when Thabo Mbeki finally stops covering for the crazy man next door? As the leader of the powerhouse, a country with a long history of friendship and cooperation with Mugabe, the South African president has unique leverage on Harare, but he has, if anything, shielded Mugabe from accountability. It’s time for President Bush to pressure Mbeki and other African leaders to handle the mess in their own backyards, and if that doesn’t work, take matters to the Security Council. The apologetics need to end now.

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