Exiled former Ethiopian strongman Mengistu Haile Mariam is believed to be living in the scenic Vumba area, south east of this eastern border city. Sources told Radio VOP on Tuesday that Menguistu quietly Ieft Harare to settle in the Vumba area almost a year ago.
He lives a lavish but reclusive life in Zimbabwe amid fears over his safety. The former Marxist ruler fled his motherland in the early 1990’s after a then rebel group led by late Meles Zenawi overrun his Red Army.
Mengistu was tried and found guilty of genocide in absentia and was sentenced to life in prison in January 2007. But Harare where he received sanctuary due to friendship with President Robert Mugabe, said it would not extradite him.
He was initially staying in GunHill, a low density suburb for rich Zimbabweans in the capital Harare, but there was an attempt at his life. Some armed Eritreans sneaked into Zimbabwe and trekked him to GunHill where they shot at him but he escapsed unhurt. His attackers were arrested and given lengthy jail terms.
Sources said Mengistu was now staying in the Vumba area, a popular tourist spot with his family. They said he is under tight protection although he often frequents upmarket restaurants in the Vumba area such as Genaina. Zimbabwean authorities have largely shielded him from the media since his arrival in May 1991.
In the very few interviews he has given Zimbabwean media Mengistu said he had no regrets about his rule and that he tried his best for Ethiopia. Radio VOP
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