Police in Zimbabwe say the leader of a doctors’ strike, who allegedly was abducted by government agents, is receiving care at a Harare hospital and is not under arrest.
Dr. Peter Magombeyi reappeared in the village of Nyabira late Thursday, five days after he went missing. In his absence, doctors and nurses held protests in Harare, demanding the government find him and ensure his safe return.
Speaking Friday to VOA’s Zimbabwe service, national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said Magombeyi is under observation at a hospital.
“He has been examined by his own medical team and a government team,” Nyathi said. “He is safe and has not been arrested at all as claimed in some sections of the media.”
He added: “Dr. Magombeyi has accessed his lawyers who are interacting with the police. He has accessed his family and they are also interacting with the police.”
Nyathi said police will interview Magombeyi once he is cleared by doctors.
Magombeyi is acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, whose members went on strike September 3.
The doctors, who are paid less than $200 per month, are demanding a pay raise to keep pace with Zimbabwe’s soaring inflation. The doctors have rejected government calls to return to work while negotiations continue.
Officials have denied accusations that agents kidnapped Magombeyi as a form of punishment or intimidation.
Speaking Thursday on VOA Zimbabwe Service’s Livetalk program, a disoriented-sounding Magombeyi confirmed he was alive, but said he could not remember exactly what happened to him or how he ended up in Nyabira.
That part I’m just so vague about, I need time to recall,” he said.
Magombeyi said his last recollection before being taken by unnamed people was the memory of being electrocuted.
I remember being in a basement of some sort, being electrocuted at some point, that is what I vividly remember. I, I just don’t remember, Magombeyi said, struggling to speak.
Officials also suggested a third party could be involved in the disappearance to taint the government’s image.
Responding to the police allegation, and also Twitter posts alluding to the same accusations, Magombeyi said he had no answers.
I need time to think about it, I don’t know,” he said.
Source: Voice of America