A High Court judge in Zimbabwe has ordered police to launch a search for a human rights activist who was abducted from her home last week. In an unusual move, Judge Anne Gowora said they should hunt for the activist, Jestina Mukoko, in all places of detention where they have jurisdiction.

Nothing has been heard from Ms Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, since she disappeared last Wednesday. Zimbabwe’s police have denied holding Jestina Mukoko in their cells.

The judge has also ordered the national broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, to run radio and television advertisements about the disappearance. On Monday, an adviser to the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was also abducted.

There is growing concern in Zimbabwe about the number of human rights activists and opposition Movement for Democratic Change supporters who have been abducted since October. Some 18 are reportedly missing.

The most recent case is that of Gandhi Mudzwinga, an adviser to Morgan Tsvangirai. He was forced into a car by a group of armed men and driven away on Monday afternoon.

Human Rights Watch, the US-based human rights group, says the abductions show the audacity of a regime that is desperate to stay in power, no matter what the cost.


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