Africa 6.8.2018 01:42 pm

Zim security forces urge citizens to ignore ‘shutdown’ messages

Zimbabwean policemen sit in a vehicle stationed outside the headquarters of opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, in Harare, on August 2, 2018. Picture: AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Zimbabwean policemen sit in a vehicle stationed outside the headquarters of opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, in Harare, on August 2, 2018. Picture: AFP PHOTO / MARCO LONGARI

Authorities say some of the false messages include one where it is alleged soldiers are calling upon the people to shut down Zimbabwe.

Law enforcement agencies and armed forces in Zimbabwe on Monday rubbished several messages circulating on social media, urging Zimbabweans “to go into the streets” in the wake of disputed presidential election results.

In a joint statement, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) warned the populace against the “falsehoods” being circulated on social media, in messages purportedly from the country’s security forces.

“The Zimbabwe Republic Police and other security services have noted with great concern falsehoods that are being peddled on social media, which are obviously meant to cause alarm and despondency in the country,” said ZRP spokesperson and senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba and ZDF spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi.

“Some of the false messages include the one where it is alleged that soldiers are calling upon the people of Zimbabwe to go on to the streets and shut down Zimbabwe. For the record, this message and its contents should be dismissed.

“The Zimbabwe Defence Forces does not communicate through social media. Such propaganda is meant to incite public violence and tarnish the image of Zimbabwe Defence Forces.”

The security forces urged Zimbabweans to ignore the messages and continue with their lives “without hindrance”.

In a telephonic interview, Charamba confirmed to the African News Agency (ANA) that the ZRP and the ZDF had jointly issued the warning.

Last week, the election euphoria in Zimbabwe was quickly punctured when military trucks rolled into the Harare city centre to quell protests by opposition MDC-Alliance supporters who strongly disputed the results.

At least six people were shot dead in the melee that followed the soldiers’ deployment.

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