Hundreds attend prayer rally for missing Zimbabwean activist

AP News
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Posted: Jul 11, 2015 1:12 PM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Church leaders and opposition politicians on Saturday accused the Zimbabwean government of foot-dragging in the search for an activist who has been missing for four months.

Hundreds of people gathered at a prayer rally for activist Itai Dzamara, held in an open field in a suburb in the capital Harare.

Dzamara was abducted by five men while having a haircut at a barbershop on March 9, his lawyers said, who suspect he was taken by state agents.

Before he went missing, the activist led the Occupy Africa Unity Square movement, staging a sit-in at the popular square in the city that began in October last year to call for President Robert Mugabe's resignation and democratic reforms. Dzamara was regularly harassed and severely beaten by police during his protest.

A high court judge ruled that state security agents must find Dzamara, forcing them to act.

Police have dismissed allegations of delay tactics, saying they are investigating Dzamara's disappearance.

The United States Embassy in Zimbabwe joined representatives of the European Union and the Australian Embassy, calling for Dzamara's safe return in a statement.

"The United States remains deeply concerned about Mr. Dzamara's whereabouts and well-being, and we are equally concerned by the apparent lack of progress by authorities in their investigation," the statement said.