Mugabe brands white farmers 'Enemies of the state'

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President Robert Mugabe has launched his most scathing attack yet on white farmers in Zimbabwe. In a television address to mark the 20th anniversary of Zimbabwe's independence, he described white farmers as enemies of the state.

"Our present state of mind is that you (white farmers) are now our enemies because you really have behaved as enemies of Zimbabwe. We are full of anger. Our entire community is angry."

Mugabe's comments came after news had broken that a second white farmer had been killed by alleged veterans of the 1970s war of liberation.

Britain condemned the murder of a second white farmer in Zimbabwe, and said it was intolerable that the man apparently died while black invaders blocked an ambulance from reaching him.

"This is just intolerable, absolutely, completely, intolerable and another sign of what I feared from the very beginning - that the situation could spiral out of control," said Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain. "It was all too sadly predictable."

Cattle rancher Martin Olds, 42, died at his ranch in southern Zimbabwe some hours after radioing for help. Black squatters besieging his farm stopped an ambulance reaching him, Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union said.

Government-sponsored squatters, some claiming to be veterans of the war for independence which ended in 1980, have been occupying white-owned farms since February. President Robert Mugabe says the aim is to force land redistribution, and critics say it is to intimidate black rural voters ahead of national elections.

"What's particularly disturbing about the death of the second white farmer is that it occurred after he was shot and, as I understand it, was waiting to receive treatment and an ambulance seeking to reach him was blocked from doing to by war veterans with police standing by," Hain added.

Earlier, Hain told a parliamentary committee that about 14,500 Zimbabwean citizens are registered as British nationals. He said the figure is rising and may reach 20,000 people, but there was no indication many of them wanted to come to Britain.

"These are people who want to stay in Zimbabwe. It is their country. Britain is not their country and it is important we keep a focus on that," Hain told the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

"All of our diplomacy will bear in mind that it is in the interests of those people to stay in Zimbabwe and it is very much in the interests of Zimbabwe to retain their skills," he added.

Mugabe had apparently told African leaders that he would be willing to accept observers from the Commonwealth of Britain and ex-c

On British aid to buy white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, Hain said Britain could not support any government-sponsored program while the land invasions continue, adding, "especially since half the land recently distributed by the government has been to its friends, who are not even farming it."

Hain warned that the crisis could spill over into neighboring countries of Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique.