U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs media at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 18, 2019. Kenzo Tribouillard/REUTERS/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe’s state security minister, Owen Ncube, over what it says is credible information of his involvement in “gross violations of human rights,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.
Pompeo said in a statement that Washington was troubled by the “Zimbabwean government’s use of state-sanctioned violence against” protesters, opposition leaders and labor leaders.
Two years after the ouster of Zimbabwe’s longtime ruler Robert Mugabe by the army and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, people are still grappling with triple-digit inflation and shortages of basic goods like fuel.
Last month, doctors took to the streets after Peter Magombeyi, their union leader and one of the organizers of an effort to demand higher wages for state doctors, went missing.
Ncube said at the time that Magombeyi’s case was being treated as a disappearance, not an abduction, as his colleagues have alleged.
Human rights groups say they have recorded more than 20 cases of abductions of activists by state security agents since January. The government denies any involvement.
Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sandra Maler