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Family lives in fears, as member goes missing

by Agencies
09 Oct 2019 at 08:12hrs | Views
A FAMILY from Bulawayo is living in fear following the disappearance of a family member in January this year, during a near uprising in the country over the hiking of fuel prices.

The family of local trade unionist and social commentator Elvis Sibanda has been receiving death threats, and is seeking to leave the country, as it does not feel safe anymore.

Bhekinkosi Sibanda, who disappeared in January this year, is suspected to have been abducted and murdered, as his whereabouts are unknown. Several efforts to locate him from family members locally and abroad have failed to bear fruit.

Elvis has since been living in fear and has sent some of his children abroad, as he fears for their lives.

The Sibanda family has been constantly living in fear, as they have on several occasions been harassed by intelligence operatives, over the whereabouts of their family member - Bhekinkosi Sibanda, whom they suspect to have been abducted and murdered.

"We have not heard from him since the protests, we are constantly looking behind our shoulders because we are afraid of what may happen to us. Bheki went missing and was at the helm of the demonstrations. Because of his participation in the demonstrations intelligence officers are constantly harassing us.

'We suspect he was abducted and may have been murdered, as we have not heard from him since and this is all just a cover up," said one family member who requested anonymity. Lately there has been a series of abductions and death threats in Zimbabwe, which are politically motivated.

The Sibanda family has been appealing to for information on the whereabouts of Bhekinkosi, who was reportedly last seen during the violent January 2019 protests that led to the death of 6 civilians and hospitalization of hundreds.

A poster which announced the disappearance of Sibanda appealed to members of the public to contact the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights or their nearest police station if they have knowledge of what happened to him.

Another family spokesperson who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "During the January protest against fuel price increase, which was held on the 15th of January, Bheki who is also a taxi operator was very instrumental in the mobilization of masses to go in their numbers to demonstrate. He also joined with other taxi drivers to use their taxis to mobile the masses.

'We are not sure what happened to him during the protests days after the police and soldiers went around looking for people who participated in the strike to either torture, arrest or kill them. We were also made aware that his female partner (name withheld) was also being sought after by the state agents and also disappeared. We pray for anyone who knows what happened to our son to help us. We want to find him in whatever State just for closure."

Source - Agencies