Zimbabwean Police Detain Archbishop Before Peace Service

HARARE, Zimbabwe, JUNE 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- State security agents briefly detained Archbishop Pius Alick Ncube of Bulawayo and warned him about discussing political issues, the Catholic Information Service for Africa reported.

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The agents detained him Friday before the start of an interdenominational prayer service for justice and peace in Zimbabwe, CISA said.

«They warned that no political party regalia should be worn during the prayers; they also said inflammatory statements were not to be allowed during the church service,» the archbishop told a packed cathedral in Bulawayo before the start of the prayers.

«We told them that this is purely a church event with no party politics to be addressed, but we cannot avoid addressing political issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe,» he said.

«Politics is about food, shelter, school fees for your children, jobs and everything to do with our normal day-to-day activities,» he added.

In his sermon, Archbishop Ncube urged the congregation to pray for the country’s leaders to uphold human rights.

Last month, he conducted a service for torture victims, who gave harrowing testimonies of happenings at ZANU-PF youth camps around the country. ZANU-PF is the ruling party.

Heavily armed police and soldiers were stationed outside the cathedral during the afternoon prayers.

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