New Zealanders fear for Zimbabwe relatives amid bloody crackdown

Zimbabweans living in New Zealand fear that family and friends back home are unsafe amid a government crackdown that's turned violent.

Protests were sparked when President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who replaced Robert Mugabe, doubled the price of fuel to tackle shortages.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, and the BBC is reporting 12 people were killed and hundreds more beaten and injured. But Zimbabweans in New Zealand believe the situation could be even worse than that.

Access to the internet has been severely cut by the Zimbabwean government and the community here is only getting intermittent updates often accompanied by gruesome footage, some showing dead bodies.

The United Nations is calling for the government to stop the excessive use of force - including firing live ammunition.

"We don't have verification of the exact number of people who were killed or injured, but there are Doctors' Associations that are putting numbers out there that more than 60 people were treated in hospitals for gunshot wounds," says UN human rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

Zimbabweans who had hoped that the end of the Mugabe era could bring an end to brutal leadership are feeling betrayed again.

"The Zimbabweans thought that there was a change with the new government after the old regime left, and there was hope for people, and now it's worse than hopeless," one person says.

The only information they're receiving from home isn't giving them any respite.


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