Wednesday, May 31, 2006

AI releases new photos of "cleanup" damage

The satellite images show the destruction of one settlement near Harare, which had contained some 850 structures before last May.

The human rights group says the photos are irrefutable evidence how entire communities were obliterated.

The UN says some 700,000 people were directly affected by the demolitions....

Porta Farm was established 16 years ago and contained about 850 structures, including schools, a children's centre and a mosque.

Amnesty says that last June, in the middle of winter, armed police arrived with bulldozers.

Porta Farm - that had been home to up to 20,000 people - was destroyed and the residents evicted.

Amnesty says that the images - taken last month - show the horrifying transition of an area from a vibrant community to rubble and shrubs in the space of less than a year.

"These satellite images are irrefutable evidence... that the Zimbabwean government has obliterated entire communities, completely erased them from the map, as if they never existed," Amnesty's Africa Programme director Kolawole Olaniyan said.

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