Zim airforce chief escapes assassination

December 16, 2008 12:00 am

, HARARE, Dec 16 – Zimbabwe’s airforce commander Perrance Shiri was shot and injured in what the government called an assassination attempt on the Robert Mugabe loyalist, state media reported on Tuesday.

The Herald newspaper reported that Shiri had been shot in the arm he drove to his farm in northwestern Zimbabwe on Saturday night by an unidentified gunman waging a campaign of terror against high-profile officials.

"The attack on Air Marshal Shiri appears to be a build-up of terror attacks targeting high-profile persons, government officials, government establishments and public transportation systems," the newspaper quoted Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi as saying.

The incident comes in the wake of a series of bomb explosions at police stations in Harare and an attack on a bridge outside the capital.

Zimbabwean authorities claimed on Monday they had "compelling evidence" neighbouring Botswana was harbouring and giving material support to opposition-aligned rebels seeking to topple long-ruling President Mugabe.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has refuted the claims, saying it is convinced the government was preparing a state of emergency as an excuse to further disregard rule of law in the nation.

The once prosperous nation is in tatters due to a month-long political deadlock over the formation of a unity government, an economic crisis with inflation galloping around 231 million percent, and a cholera outbreak that has killed nearly 1,000 people.


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