The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) a leading human rights group says more than 16 000 cases of politically motivated murder, torture, rape, assault and other abuses were committed in Zimbabwe in the first half of this year alone.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project said there was an “exponential increase in human rights violations” since January.
“Since January there has been an exponential increase in human rights violations. A shocking total of 16 400 cases were recorded with 593 in January, 685 in February, 806 in March, 4 375 in April, 6 288 in May, 3 653 in June,” the ZPP said in its latest report released on Thursday.
Giving a breakdown of some of the cases of violence, the ZPP said it had recorded 157 murders, 14 cases of rape, 328 cases of torture, 380 kidnappings and 2180 assaults committed against mostly opposition supporters during the first six months of 2008.
The ZPP said that unlike in previous election periods political violence in the run up to the June 27 presidential run-off election showed a sharp swing towards “fatal forms of violence with 77 murder cases having been reported across the country by end of June, an almost double increase from the May record of 47”.
“The nature of injuries sustained by victims of violence reveal chilling features characterised by lacerations, head injuries, gun-shot wounds/stabs, rib, leg, and arm fractures, severe burns, and severe tissue injuries-a poignant signal of possible increase in the use of knives, fire, sharp weapons, guns, metal rods, knobkerries and logs,” the rights group said.
The violence in the run-up to the June vote also showed a marked shift to “terror tactics rather than the traditional political re-education” campaigns, the ZPP said.
Mugabe who was sole candidate after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out because of violence won the election.
The talks between ZANU PF and the MDC resume next Sunday after they were called off earlier this week, with chief mediator South African Thabo Mbeki saying they had adjourned to allow negotiators to return to Harare to brief their principals on progress made so far.