In the wake of the presidential and parliamentary elections which took place in Zimbabwe on 29 March 2008, violent attacks on opposition supporters are increasing.
By 18 April, Amnesty International had received confirmed reports of one death and over 240 people injured as a result of state-sponsored human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
The number of casualties has risen sharply since the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) called a general strike on Tuesday 15 April. Forty-two recorded cases were treated by doctors on 17 April alone.
At least 150 people have been arrested since 14 April and on the morning of 18 April were detained in Harare Central police station alone.
Violence appears to be targeted at active supporters of the MDC and their families, particularly those in rural areas and low income suburbs where the MDC appears to have gained more votes than the ruling the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party. Mashonaland East and West provinces have been particularly badly affected and numbers of reported incidents of violence are on the increase in Harare.
Victims report receiving death threats unless they vote "correctly" in a second round of voting should it be found that there was no outright winner of the presidential vote.
Many of the casualties have seen their homes, food reserves and livestock destroyed and are now displaced. Hundreds of homesteads are reported to have been burnt in Manicaland and Mashonaland East.
Perpetrators of the violence include so-called “war veterans” and supporters of the ruling party, as well as police officers and soldiers. State actors are accused of working hand-in-hand with ZANU-PF supporters. Individuals have been abducted from their homes by members of the military, in uniform and in plain clothes, as well as by ZANU-PF supporters.