Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mugabe lays off 10,000 soldiers

ZIMBABWE says a lack of enemies is behind its decision to fire 10,000 soldiers, or a quarter of its army, but insiders say fear of a coup by junior officers is behind the bloodletting.

The private Zimbabwean weekly Financial Gazette, a publication generally favourable to the Government, reported in its latest edition that 10,000 troops had been let go in the past year.

A health catastrophe also looms in Zimbabwe as other government services such as garbage collection fall apart, causing a wave of cholera.

The outbreak of disease follows President Robert Mugabe's notorious "Operation Sweep Out The Filth" in June, in which police destroy up to 700,000 shantytown homes along with drainage systems and drinking wells.

The effect of such changes, the overloading of sewerage systems and a chronic shortage of fuel for refuse carts is now being felt, with cholera, previously rare in Zimbabwe, sweeping the country.

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