Zimbabwe: clergy arrested for giving sweets to children

 Three pastors were arrested in Masvingo in Zimbabwe by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) on Sunday, for distributing toys and sweets to children. Rev Sonykis Chimbuya, Pastor Peter Bondai and Pastor Mugondi were were detained and interrogated by state security agents. The agents accused the pastors of distributing campaign material of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Pastor Peter Bondai and Mugondi were released after they were interrogated for more than three hours while Pastor Chimbuya was kidnapped and dumped along the Masvingo-Great Zimbabwe highway hours after his arrest. "We are living in constant fear after the harassment at the hands of the CIO agents," Rev Sonykis Chimbuya said to Paul Ciniraj, Director of the SVM News Service by telephone. "They just came to us and picked us one after the other. They asked us about the material we were distributing to various church organisations," said the churchmen. "One of us was kidnapped and was only released after they had proved beyond doubt that the items were distributing were in fact toys," they added. The CIO agents also demanded that the pastors write down their sermons and present them to the secret agents for vetting before delivery. State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa could not be reached for comment on the matter. President Robert Mugabe last month warned church leaders to steer clear of politics after Catholic bishops denounced the Zimbabwean government over its human rights record. Source: SVM News

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