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Bodies piled up in mortuaries around Zimbabwe after the government dismissed public-service workers who went on a week-long strike for higher wages. The Public Service Commission said on Saturday it had fired thousands of the strikers, including nurses, junior doctors, mortuary attendants, magistrates, customs officers and firefighters, for defying an order to go back to work. The strike, a rare challenge to President Robert Mugabe, has disrupted international and domestic flights and forced many hospitals to handle emergencies only.

At the weekend police arrested but later freed two leaders of the Public Service Association (PSA) representing the strikers. A PSA official said 90 per cent of the country's 180,000 civil servants had stopped work to press demands for wage increases of between 30 and 60 per cent. They say their pay has not kept up with inflation. Reuter - Harare