US Demands Zimbabwe Release Americans

Journalists rounded up in apparent crackdown
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 3:24 AM CDT
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, centre, meets with head of the African Union Observer Mission members at Zimbabwe House in Harare, Thursday, April, 3, 2008. .    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US State Department is demanding the immediate release of Americans detained in Zimbabwe, CNN reports. Riot police entered a hotel yesterday and removed foreign reporters, including a New York Times correspondent now being held in a Harare jail. Another US citizen working for a democratic rights organization was also detained at the Harare airport, AP reports. The citizens were being held for no valid reason, said a US official.

The round up of journalists and raids on opposition offices have raised fears that President Robert Mugabe is cracking down after an apparent election loss for his ruling party. A runoff election may be necessary but diplomats now fear Mugabe might declare a state of emergency first to crush opposition. “He’s lost the election, so he’s carrying out a coup,” said an official of the opposition party.