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Suspected Zim state agents accused of abducting, brutally assaulting union boss

The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe organised this week’s stay-at-home strike, which appeared to have been only partially followed.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure. Picture: @OMasaraure/Twitter

HARARE - The head of a teachers' union in Zimbabwe was on Thursday recovering after being abducted and beaten by suspected state agents on Wednesday night.

The incident came hours after the European Union (EU) held talks with the Zimbabwe government, the first in a series of meetings aimed at ending years of strained relations over Harare's alleged rights abuses.

The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe organised this week’s stay-at-home strike, which appeared to have been only partially followed.

On Wednesday night, the head of the union, Obert Masaraure, was abducted from his Harare home by a group of armed men, taken to a secluded place, then stripped naked and beaten.

His union said the assailants warned him to stop mobilising teachers to strike.

Rights groups allege there is a crackdown against their members and what they say is the shrinking of Zimbabwe’s democratic space.

Top EU diplomat to Harare, Timo Olkkonen tweeted that the assault of Masaraure was unjust and unacceptable.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)