UK Sanctions Top Zimbabweans over Alleged Human Rights Abuses

The United Kingdom has sanctioned four Zimbabwean officials over their roles in a crackdown on protests in 2019 that led to the death of no fewer than 17 people.

The new sanctions also involved the post-election violence in 2018.

The officials, which include Minister for State Security Owen Ncube as well as heads of police and intelligence organisations, will have their travel to Britain restricted and their assets frozen.

“These sanctions send a clear message that we will hold to account those responsible for the most egregious human rights violations, including the deaths of innocent Zimbabweans,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

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“These sanctions target senior individuals in the government, and not ordinary Zimbabweans. We will continue to press for the necessary political and economic reforms that will benefit all Zimbabweans.”

The other three named include Central Intelligence Organisation Chief, Isaac Moyo; Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner, General Godwin Matanga; and Anselem Sanyatwe, a former commander of the presidential guard.

The UK’s statement published says the announcement “ensures these individuals cannot freely travel to the UK, channel money through UK banks or profit from our economy”.

Ncube and Sanyatwe were already under the United States’ sanctions in March last year.

Reacting to the news, government spokesman Nick Mangwana wrote on Twitter that none of the four sanctioned Zimbabwe officials have assets in the UK, nor have they showed any interest in travelling there in the last three years.

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The officials are accused of responsibility for the deaths of 17 Zimbabweans in January 2019, when the army attacked protesters marching against a hefty fuel price hike.

They were also allegedly complicit in soldiers opening fire on unarmed demonstrators who were protesting against a delay in election results in August 2018, killing six.

That attack sparked international outrage against President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced longtime ruler Robert Mugabe following a military coup in November 2017.

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