MDC Alliance senior official Robert Saunyama, popularly known as Jack Roberts, and his younger brother and Chikanga-Dangamvura’s ward 6 councillor Danmore Saunyama were on Tuesday night abducted by eight suspected State security agents.
They were heavily armed and driving an unmarked Toyota double cab vehicle.
Jack Roberts is the district chairperson for Mutare South, a constituency he contested for and lost to Zanu PF in the July 30 elections.
Manicaland police said they had not received any report concerning the issue when the Daily News enquired about the alleged disappearances.
MDC Manicaland provincial spokesperson Trevor Saruwaka confirmed the abduction which he pinned on State agents at around 2130 hours. He said the abductors assaulted members of the duo’s families, including their wives and children.
“They forced their entry into Jack’s house where he was hosting his brother who had visited him with his wife and that of his other brother, Jericho.
“The abductors started assaulting the wives of the three brothers and children together with Danmore,” Saruwaka said.
Four men were pointing their guns at Roberts, who is a known martial artist, threatening to shoot him if he tried to defend his family, he said.
“The victims of this barbaric military brutality bled profusely and suffered various degrees of injuries,” he said, adding that their whereabouts were unknown by the time of going to press.
“The abductors then bundled the two brothers and took them to an unknown destination.”
The Saunyama brothers had only recently emerged from hiding after State security agents had previously been looking for them after the January 14 and 15 disturbances that saw dozens of MDC officials abducted at night and allegedly tortured at a military cantonment area in the city.
“During the raids carried from January 15, Jack survived by going into hiding only surfacing recently when he thought the environment had improved,” Saruwaka said.
The abduction is coming hardly three weeks after the usually sleepy Zimunya Township that lies 20km from Mutare buried Noah Sahumbe after he was brutally assaulted by soldiers who raided a sports club in which he was watching football on January 20. Saruwaka said the township had become hell since the protests.
“This brutality is coming only there weeks after we buried Sahumbe of Zimunya Township who succumbed to injuries he sustained after beatings by soldiers.
“Zimunya has been a little hell since the stay-away disturbances. The residents of this sleepy township have not known peace ever since.”
The MDC said the abduction could have a link with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s weekend threats against pro-democracy NGOs and opposition political parties and their members.
He said the country was descending into a dark period reminiscent of the Gukurahundi and 2008 violence.
“What is clear from today’s incident is that Zimbabwe is descending into a dark period of kidnappings, abductions, beatings, murders and extra-judicial killings. The dark days of Gukurahundi and 2008 run-off killings are upon us once again.
“One cannot fail to link the veiled threats by Mnangagwa over the weekend in Masvingo Province with this heinous operation,” Saruwaka said.
He said government was clearly stepping up a terror campaign against its citizens.
“It’s clear the junta has stepped up the terror campaign against ordinary, peace-loving citizens.
“Is this the new dispensation? Clearly, there is nothing new but a continuation of Mugabe’s legacy of brutality,” he said. DailyNews