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Zimbabwean satirist says she was abducted, beaten for 'mocking govt'

AFP  |  Harare 

A popular Zimbabwean online comedian and satirist said Thursday she was abducted from her Harare home and beaten by unknown assailants, becoming the latest perceived government critic to be attacked in recent weeks.

Samantha Kureya, popularly known as 'Gonyeti', was forcibly taken from her home by masked and armed men Wednesday evening, beaten up and dumped, she told a local newspaper from her hospital bed.

Kureya told a journalist from the Daily in a video clip available online that three masked men broke open her bedroom door and pulled her out of bed.

"I was only wearing a top and pants, and when I said 'let me dress' I was slapped, and ordered to look down," she said, adding that she was dragged into a car with her face down.

She said she was taken to a bush where she was told "you are mocking (the) government" as she was kicked, whipped and ordered to roll onto the wet ground.

Kureya said she was also told to strip naked and forced to drink and gargle sewer water.

She was later abandoned, without any clothes. Kureya walked towards houses and someone threw a dress at her through the window.

Her production company Bustop-TV tweeted that another comedian, Sharon Chideu, who appears alongside Kureya in comedy sketches, was also targeted but left her home after being warned that she could be abducted.

Bustop TV posts sketches that poke fun at the authorities in Zimbabwe and the economic and social problems facing the country.

Earlier this year, police arrested Kureya and Chideu after they appeared in a performance wearing fancy-dress police uniforms but were released and fined USD 20 each.

Kureya joins a list of opposition and rights activists who have been abducted by unidentified assailants at different locations in the past two weeks, according to rights groups.

The Ministry of Information said in a tweet that investigations were under way.

"Kureya reported a night visit by 3 masked men, one carrying a firearm. They allegedly assaulted her and dumped her in Mufakose," it said.

The abductions and last week's attacks on demonstrators come at a time the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to normalise relations with Western powers after two decades of isolation over alleged human rights abuses.

Western missions in Harare have condemned the attacks on the demonstrators and the current spate of abductions.

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

First Published: Fri, August 23 2019. 02:55 IST