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Freelance journalist Kudzai Musengi kidnapped, later released, warned against reporting on land issue

(MISA/IFEX) - On 31 March 2009, Gweru-based freelance journalist Kudzai Musengi was abducted by three unknown men who took him into their car and blindfolded him before speeding off to a wooded area where he was subjected to intense interrogations.

Musengi, who was eventually released around 7:00 p.m. (local time) on 1 April, was interrogated about his alleged involvement with reports that were being beamed by Voice of America's Studio 7 on farm invasions. Musengi denied having any links with Studio 7.

He was threatened with death and ordered not to report anything pertaining to the land issue. The interrogation took place in a wooded area where he was asked to get out of the car. His alleged abductors told him that he was under surveillance and warned him against reporting about his ordeal.

According to his lawyer Tonderai Chitere, the incident happened around 8:45 p.m. (local time) when he was approached by one man at a local bar who informed him that he was wanted outside whereupon he met the three men who were standing near a "metallic blue sedan" vehicle. The three men then asked him to get into the car saying they had a story they wanted to give to him.

After the interrogation he was ordered back into the car before driving to an unknown location where he was taken into a room. The interrogations, threats and warnings continued. The next day he was still blindfolded and according to his lawyers, he was led into a car that was parked outside. He recalled that the voices in the car where different to those from the previous day.

After driving for some time, he was told to get out of the car. The blindfold was removed and his laptop and cell phones were returned to him before he was ordered to walk straight ahead without looking back. Although it was now dark, he later realised after recollecting his senses that he was in Mkoba where he lives and proceeded to walk home.

Musengi told MISA-Zimbabwe that he was fine and had not been harmed in any way by his alleged abductors.

A report has since been made to the police in Gweru.

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