Sunday, March 18, 2007

Youth flee training camps

another older article from 2003 about the "youth training camps" that are indoctrinating youth to become terrorists. below is an excerpt

Hundreds of Zimbabwe's "green bombers", militiamen trained to murder and harass President Robert Mugabe's political opponents, have fled to South Africa claiming they have been beaten and starved.

The green bombers, named after the colour of their fatigues, have been blamed for the murders of dozens of officials of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Aid agency workers and human rights groups said the militia was organised to spread terror in rural Zimbabwe. Many of those who fled to South Africa said they were coerced into joining President Mugabe's youth training scheme, while others were lured by promises of regular pay and food.

At four training camps they were indoctrinated with the propaganda of the ruling ZANU-PF party and taught how to kill and maim. "We were told we had to hunt down all MDC people in the villages and given training in frightening them," said "Luke", 15, from Matabeleland, who fled last month. "Sometimes we were given names of people and told to torture and even kill them. We were trained to hurt and kill people who did not support ZANU-PF."

Luke, who was unwilling to give his real name to protect his family, said he joined the training scheme after being promised money and food. But he said: "We were beaten by our instructors and forced to share one small bowl of food among many," he said.

South African newspapers reported that another youth had fled after being forced to take part in the murder of his uncle, an MDC supporter. Another said he was part of a large group instructed to terrorise a village suspected of being sympathetic to the MDC just before a visit by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Mr Mugabe's propaganda chief.

Johannesburg's Sunday Independent reported that the green bombers were given alcohol and marijuana before being sent on killing missions "because then you will feel nothing for anyone".

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