|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
|Zimbabwe militants threaten to seize Asians' property|
Government-backed militants have threatened to seize property owned by Zimbabwe's Asian community unless they willingly hand it over to blacks.
The state-owned Herald newspaper says the so-called 'war veterans' have given the country's Asians an ultimatum to reduce rents.
They also want the 12,000-strong community to stop black market currency trading, bank their money locally and raise wages.
Andrew Ndlovu, the leader of the Liberation War Veterans Association, told the paper: "Nothing will stop us from reclaiming commercial land from Indians.
"If they do not stop looting our economy, they will leave us with no choice but to go door-to-door making sure all Indians in the cities are complying with instructions from war veterans."
While the association claims to represent veterans of Zimbabwe's war for independence from minority white rule, many of its members are too young to have ever seen combat.
The association has been at the forefront of a campaign by President Robert Mugabe's government to seize white-owned farms and hand them over to landless blacks. The two-year farm seizure campaign has sparked an economic collapse in Zimbabwe, resulting in soaring inflation and widespread food shortages.
The government has blamed Zimbabwe's tiny minority of white farmers for the country's woes but is now also targeting the country's Asian and Jewish communities.
In February, Eliott Manyika, a senior ruling party official and provincial governor, said once the government had finalised the seizure of 5,000 white-owned farms it would shift its attention to urban businesses and mines.
He told the pro-Government Zimbabwe Mirror: "Asians, commonly referred to as Indians, would also not be spared for what is said to be their role in the hoarding of essential commodities."
Story filed: 15:46 Wednesday 24th April 2002
He had been accused of conspiracy to commit public violence, under a controversial security law passed before last month's disputed presidential election.
There was no basis for the police to arrest him
His release follows anti-government protests staged by the NCA in Zimbabwean cities on Tuesday, in defiance of a police ban.
In the ruling releasing Mr Madhuku, the court said the state had failed to back up its case.
"There was no basis for the police to arrest him," Mr Madhuku's lawyer, Andrew Makoni told AFP news agency.
The NCA is a coalition of church groups, students and trade unions campaigning for a reduction in the powers of President Robert Mugabe.
The current constitution, negotiated with Britain at independence in 1980, gives Mr Mugabe broad executive powers, which he used to change electoral rules up to a day before voting began in March.
Earlier this month, the NCA said that around 400 activists were arrested ahead of similar planned demonstrations.
Mr Mugabe's re-election was marred by accusations of vote-rigging and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has asked the courts to annul the results.
The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has called for fresh elections.
But President Mugabe denies the allegations of fraud and has said no new presidential poll will be held until his term expires in six years' time.
The Commonwealth has said the poll was held in a "climate of fear" and suspended Zimbabwe for a year.
The security law gives the police sweeping new powers to break up public gatherings.