More than 10 Zimbabwean opposition activists are missing in South Africa after they were promised military training in Mozambique by a mysterious man they met on social networking site, Facebook recently.
The faceless Facebook man claimed he was close to the top leadership of the former Mozambique rebel movement, the Mozambique National Resistance (MNR). The so called MNR agent who used the name Hosia on facebook told the Zimbabwean activists that he could facilitate military training for them in Mozambique to fight president Robert Mugabe’s army.
The naïve Zimbabweans believed the man even though they had not met him face to face.The missing activists belonged to different opposition groups.According to friends of the missing men,the so called MNR agent befriended the activists on facebook and earned their trust.
During their regular chats on Facebook,the Zimbabweans and their new found friend discussed ways of fighting president Robert Mugabe and removing him from power. It was at that point that the mysterious MNR agent told the Zimbabwean activists that he could help arrange military training for them in Mozambique.
The training was to be conducted at the former bases of MNR. The former rebel movement which was backed by apartheid military might in the 80s fought the Mozambique government for more than a decade.
During the Mozambique civil war, Zimbabwe government sent troops to help Frelimo soldiers fight the rebels who had their headquarters in Gorongosa, a former national park which they converted into a military base.
After the bogus MNR agent earned the trust of his Zimbabwean friends who were itching for military training,he arranged to meet them in the South African town of Zeerust in North West province.According to one of their friends, when the Zimbabwean activists arrived in Zeerust, the MNR agent was nowhere to be found.
While waiting for the alleged MNR agent to arrive for the meeting,the Zimbabweans who were eager to meet the man found themselves surrounded by armed men in military camouflage.
That was the last communication with their friends.Cosmas Ncube who leads one of the opposition groups said they had warned the impatient youths about their Facebook contact.
Ncube said others had strong suspicions that the mysterious Hosia could have been an undercover agent of the Zimbabwe spy agency,the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
The CIO stands accused of being responsible for the abductions of thousands of supporters of the then opposition Zapu party of Joshua Nkomo in the 80s.
Now the friends of the missing activists believe their colleagues were abducted by the Zimbabwean agents who lured them to a trap in Zeerust. This is not the first time Zimbabwean activists have been abducted on South African soil.
Police in Zeerust said they had no records of Zimbabweans detained in local camps.In 2010 some members of the South African police from the elite crime fighting unit, the Hawks were implicated in illegal arrests of Zimbabwean activists exiled in the country and handing them over to security police in that country.
Four Zimbabweans who were handed over to that country’s security police were later found dead.When the illegal deportations were expossed, police minister Nathi Mthethwa suspended the then Hawks head, Anwa Dramat and some of the officers in the unit.But Dramat successfully challenged his suspension in court. He later resigned.
Source ” Bulawayo24