Zimbabwe militia loot aid on its way to starving children
One of the few food aid trucks still running in Zimbabwe, following Mugabe's ban on humanitarian work by independent aid agencies, has been hijacked by Zimbabwe police and soldiers. As a result, hundreds of children have gone hungry.
The truck, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was carrying 20 tonnes of food, destined for schoolchildren in the eastern Manicaland province.
USAID administrator Henrietta Ford has described how Manicaland provincial government Tinaye Chigudu directed the military and police to stop the truck, and send the load instead to a rally of the ruling Zanu-PF party, in Mutare District.
Ford commented: "It is unacceptable for the government of Zimbabwe to steal food from hungry children." In a statement she said: "This event is another affront to the people of Zimbabwe... It also represents an orchestrated theft of US government property. Those responsible should be brought to justice."
Meanwhile a headmaster in the rural town of Mutare, in Manicaland, has reported that many children are dropping out of school, as hunger and deprivation take their toll. He said that of those children who do still attend, more and more are collapsing and fainting from hunger during lessons.
The country goes to the polls again on June 27, in the re-run of the Presidential election, between Zanu-PF's Robert Mugabe and the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.