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Posted: 8/14/2001 11:54:12 AM EDT
Fleeing Zimbabwe violence The violence has spread through the Chinhoyi area The chaotic land grab in Zimbabwe that has seen the occupation of hundreds of white-owned farms has reached new levels of violence in the north of the country. The violence has spread through the Chinhoyi area in one of the nation's most productive corn and tobacco districts, following the arrest last week of 21 white farmers who were accused of assaulting black squatters. Ena Da Silva's farm was attacked on Saturday morning by a gang of old and young men, women and children. "My daughter and myself and her friend, we hid in the bathroom cupboard behind a washing machine," she told the BBC. "Eventually I got up, they took me out and they demanded [all my] keys," she said. "When they discovered my daughter and her friend, they did hold a knife to them and threatened them and demanded money and removed their shoes." Escape without possessions Ms Da Silva and the two girls managed to escape when other farmers came to their rescue. They drove off in their car without taking a single possession. Ms Da Silva's daughter, 13-year-old Natalie, described the frightening affair: "I was very scared, I must admit... I kept thinking, what if they've got guns, what if they've got knives, what if they threaten us?" She told the BBC she wanted to leave Zimbabwe. "I'm a bit edgy whenever we hear about what's happening on other farms. I just want to go down south and start over again," she said. Hoping to return Ms Da Silva said she intended to take her daughter to Johannesburg for a break from the stresses of the past few months. But she said she hoped to be able bring her back to finish her schooling in Zimbabwe. Like other farmers, Ms Da Silva finds it hard to believe that black Zimbabweans want white farmers to leave for good. "I would like to know clearly, whether as a white person, we are welcome here or whether they would rather we leave," she said. She suggested that safe passage be given to those who want to leave, and "safe residence" be promised to those who want to stay. "There is going to be change. A lot of people realise that. And those who are really willing to stay, are really willing to work along with the change," she said.
Link Posted: 8/14/2001 11:58:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2001 11:56:23 AM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Zimbabwe hit by rising grain prices Zimbabwe's maize crop has been hit by the land resettlement programme Zimbabweans are facing the threat of spiralling prices for maize, one of the country's staple foodstuff. This year's crop in regional powerhouse South Africa looks set to fall well short of last year's bumper levels, pushing up prices. To head off civil and political unrest - triggered in the past by prices hikes - Zimbabwe's government has been pushed into re-establishing price controls. Official predictions in July set the South African harvest for 2000-2001 at 7.193m tonnes, well below the 10.1m tonnes seen last year. With about 2m tonnes left over from last year, domestic South African consumption of about 7.5m tonnes should easily be covered. But in Zimbabwe the ongoing land resettlement programme has hit the local maize harvest, with local supplies set to run out by February 2002, international food officials say. The likelihood of a shortfall has forced up the price of South African maize futures to levels almost 50% above last year's. Sliding output Zimbabwe's land programme has cut the area under large scale commercial maize cultivation by more than 50% this year, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Smallholdings make up some of the difference, the FAO says. But overall, maize production at 1.57m tonnes is likely to be down more than a quarter this year, and imports might be as high as 450,000 tonnes. Earlier in July the situation forced the government, led by President Robert Mugabe, to call for food to be donated to forestall shortages. And this week the government announced price controls on maize through a state-run Grain Marketing Board which economists say could encourage farmers to hold off from growing maize next year. In turn, that would exacerbate the food shortages as the country heads into a presidential election in which Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party will try to extend his term into a third decade. Falling gold and tobacco production and a rapidly sliding exchange rate mean Zimbabwe is extremely short on foreign currency for agricultural imports. Slim foreign exchange reserves are being further depleted by the heavy burden of importing $40m of fuel a month both for domestic purposes and to support the ongoing military presence in Congo. On this front, reports in the country's Financial Gazette newspaper suggest that Libya has stepped in with a lifeline, offering Zimbabwe Government fuel worth $360m a year in exchange for exports of Zimbabwean products. The reported deal follows a recent visit to the country by Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
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If ANY US relef goes to these people next year I am going to be a very upset person... They created this bullshit, let them starve for it.
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