Potential Hot Spots: Fleeing From Zimbabwe


: Items About Areas That Could Break Out Into War

July 3, 2004: Zimbabwean refugees continue to cross the border into South Africa. The surge in refugees began in mid-March 2007, not long after the Zimbabwean government began a new crackdown on the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the country's main opposition group. It was in March that Zimbabwean security forces arrested and beat several senior MDC leaders. The crackdown isn't the only reason for refugees. The dismal economy certainly adds to Zimbabwe's woes. Inflation remains unchecked (one recent estimate said the monthly rate is now at least 4000 per cent - but who really knows). Fuel shortages have limited transportation, and food shortages are rampant. So how many refugees are crossing into South Africa? South Africa reported that it is returning around 15,000 to 16,000 Zimbabwe refugees each month, but that doesn't address the number who cross and don't get caught, or counted. Some sources estimate that at least three million Zimbabweans have left the country. That's nearly a quarter of the population. Robert Mugabe's dictatorship is at war with its own populace.

June 27, 2007: Zimbabwe's businesses now face another round of government takeovers. Zimbabwe's dictator, Robert Mugage, is threatening to punish businesses that raise prices. He claims they add to inflation and the government will seize them in order to force them to hold prices down. At least one mining company is being targeted. Earlier this month the Zimbabwean government said that it wants "indigenous Zimbabwean citizens" to have controlling interest (51 percent interest) of all publicly-owned foreign companies operating Zimbabwe. This was presented as part of Mugabe's "black empowerment" (ie black African empowerment) program. His critics see it as another act of political theft designed to benefit Mugabe's supporters.

June 22, 2007: Five members of the Zimbabwean Army were placed under arrest for planning a coup. The arrests came one day after a senior Zimbabwe Army sofficer, Brigadier-General Paul Gunda, was reportedly murdered. The speculation is Gunda was involved with Zimbabwean opposition groups. He may have been associated with the alleged coup plotters. At least that's one of the stories coming out of Zimbabwe. At one time Gunda commanded Zimbabwe's presidential guard-an elite, highly-trusted unit. Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe may be becoming more suspicious of his own police and army. Younger members of his ZANU-PF party are disenchanted with his regime and Mugabe's own desire to remain in power.


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