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Zimbabwe govt denies opposition kidnap claims

The post was accompanied by a screengrab of a video which showed a group of men gathered around an SUV.

FILE: MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa addresses the press on the elections thus far, stating they have been rigged. Thomas Holder/EWN

HARARE – Zimbabwe's government publicly denied claims on Sunday that its spy agency had attempted to kidnap main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa as he left a rally this weekend.

Chamisa's Movement for Democratic Change party tweeted Saturday that "Central Intelligence Organisation agents (participated) in a failed attempt to abduct" Chamisa following a rally in Marondera, 72 kilometres east of Harare.

The post was accompanied by a screengrab of a video which showed a group of men gathered around an SUV. The party later said that Chamisa was safe following the alleged incident.

But President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government fiercely denied the claims.

"Government is dismayed at the imputation that state agents would attempt to abduct opposition leaders. That notion is not only false but malicious," Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in a statement.

November 21 will mark the one-year anniversary of former president Robert Mugabe's resignation following a brief military takeover that was followed by Mnangagwa's appointment.

Opposition politicians faced frequent harassment and actual violence at the hands of the security forces under Mugabe's authoritarian rule.

Chamisa's predecessor Morgan Tsvangirai was detained on numerous occasions and was brutally beaten by police in 2007 when he attempted to stage an anti-government rally in a Harare suburb.

Chamisa, who lost to Mnangagwa in July 30's presidential polls, claims he was the rightful winner and has staged several victory rallies in recent weeks.

He has also called for a transitional authority to run Zimbabwe and the country to hold a fresh vote.

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