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Zimbabwe to exhume, rebury thousands from 1980s mass killing

AP  |  Harare (Zimbabwe) 

has promised to exhume and rebury the bodies of thousands of people killed during a 1980s military campaign aimed at crushing dissidents, reported Wednesday.

newspaper cited the in the justice ministry, Virginia Mabhiza, as calling the reburials part of measures supported by to bring closure to the killings between 1983 and 1987.

She did not say when they will start.

Mnangagwa was and enforcer for then-at the time, publicly supporting the campaign.

Like Mugabe he has refused to apologise for his alleged role but recently said people should be free to talk about the killings.

In Operation Gukurahundi or "the early rains that blow away the chaff" in the local Shona language a North Korean-trained brigade rampaged through Matabeleland.

A 1997 report by the Catholic Commission on Peace and Justice, drawing on more than 1,000 interviews, said 10,000 to 20,000 civilians were killed.

The killings only ended when Joshua Nkomo, a in the war for independence and rival of Mugabe with strong support in the Matabeleland region, agreed to join the ruling party in 1987.

Many of the dead were buried in shallow graves, mass graves and disused mines. Others disappeared, according to the 1997 report and witness accounts.

Mabhiza said will assist people whose parents died in the campaign to get proper identity documents, as well as medical help for those injured.

She also promised "protection mechanisms for those affected by Gukurahundi to be free to discuss their experiences."

Previously, several people were arrested for discussing the killings in public while artworks depicting the era were banned from public view.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 10 2019. 22:10 IST