Journalists accused of torture and kidnapping

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The Independent Online

Two journalists working for Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper have been arrested on kidnapping and torture charges, police said on Monday.

Mduduzi Mathuthu, a repoter, and Grey Chitiga, a photographer, who work for the Daily News, were arrested on Sunday and accused of involvement in an alleged plot to blame government agents for the killing of a ruling party militant, Cain Nkala.

Police say the pair were present when a man was tortured and forced to "confess" that he knew of the government-backed killing. President Robert Mugabe, facing strong opposition in elections expected next year, accused his opponents of abducting and strangling Nkala, who helped to lead the occupation of white-owned farms. Mr Mugabe said Nkala's death, on 5 November, was part of a British-backed plot toblock the redistribution of white-owned farms to landless blacks.

Nkala's killing sparked a wave of violence by ruling party militants in the country.