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Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa skips Davos forum over unrest, vows probe into crackdown

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has canceled an official trip to Europe over unrest triggered by economic crisis in his home country, vowing to investigate misconduct by security forces following a brutal crackdown on nationwide protests.

Mnangagwa, who was already on a tour of foreign countries, announced on Tuesday that he had decided to skip the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos — to be held from January 22 to 25 — and was heading back home “within the next 24 hours.”

Mnangagwa said that “the first priority is to get Zimbabwe calm, stable and working again.”

​Angry protesters barricade the main route to Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, from Epworth Township, on January 14 2019, after a sharp increase in fuel prices. (Photo by AFP)

The Zimbabwean president also announced that claims of wrongdoing by security forces against people protesting over fuel price hikes would be investigated.

“Violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe. Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated. Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll,” Mnangagwa wrote in a tweet, calling for “national dialogue” over the protests.

Mnangagwa announced a steep increase of 150 percent in the fuel price earlier this month, igniting widespread discontent and violent demonstrations.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, which recorded more than 240 incidents of assault and torture, claimed that at least 12 people were killed and 78 treated for gunshot injuries during the protests. About 700 people have also been arrested.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has accused the government in Harare of shooting, beating, and abducting opposition figures, activists and ordinary residents.

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