South African President Thabo Mbeki arrived in Zimbabwe today for talks with Robert Mugabe, with evidence of brutal government attacks on the rise, the New York Times reports. Doctors said they’d seen a “dramatic escalation” in assaults by government agents. With a runoff looming, more than 900 opposition supporters have been beaten, and even that number “grossly underestimates” the violence, one doctor said.
Mbeki, normally an ally of Mugabe’s, sent a team of generals to Zimbabwe to investigate the violence. “You cannot have the next round taking place in this atmosphere,” said one South African official. “We have seen it, there are people in hospital who said they have been tortured.” Mugabe’s government also has been arresting dissenters, including one independent newspaper’s editor.