Friday, October 14, 2005

AMBASADOR'S GOOD LUCK!

Held US envoy 'lucky not to have been shot' From Jan Raath in Harare.

The American Ambassador to Zimbabwe was arrested briefly by troops this week while taking a stroll in the capital’s National Botanic Garden near President Mugabe’s residence, state radio reported last night.

The incident happened on Monday when Christopher Dell was seen in the popular spot adjoining Mr Mugabe’s heavily guarded home. The Defence Ministry said that Mr Dell “has the men on duty to thank for their restraint” in not shooting him.

Members of Mr Mugabe’s presidential guard, in full combat gear and carrying automatic rifles with fixed bayonets when on duty, are notorious for harassing passers-by, including children walking to school. A Foreign Ministry statement accused Mr Dell of ignoring “no entry” signs and said that he had “intended to provoke an unwarranted diplomatic incident”. “He risked being shot,” the statement said. “He was well aware a similar breach of his security in his country would not be tolerated.”

The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents in which Western diplomats have fallen foul of Zimbabwean security men or ruling party militia and suffered assault, abuse or arrest.
NEWS REPORT FROM TIMES ON LINE

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