Obert Masaraure, President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), was abducted at midnight by unknown assailants believed to be state security agents.
ARTUZ has been leading a just-ended 3 day nationwide strike over low salaries and high cost of living. This was a legally protected strike and 14 day notice had been given to the State.
At least six men with masked faces and heavily armed with AK47s abducted him from his Waterfalls home in view of his wife and children. They took all cell phones in the house. He was taken to a remote area along Seke Road where he was stripped naked, severely assaulted and interrogated for hours about ARTUZ’s industrial action and told to stop mobilizing teachers to go on strike. They asked him why he was still working as a teacher when they had suspended his salary. This line of questioning shows a clear link between the persecution of teachers by the Employer through withholding of salaries, intimidation and torture as punishment for legitimate union activities.
Masaraure was then dumped naked by his abductors and abandoned in the bush. He managed to walk until he found a homestead where someone gave him clothes and money to make his way home. He is currently undergoing medical treatment.
ARTUZ condemns this shocking violation of the rights of our President and the continued assault against our Union in response to our legal and peaceful actions to address legitimate labour issues.
We call on the State, as the Employer, to immediately stop the persecution of teachers.
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)