HARARE, Zimbabwe, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Zimbabwe’s security forces are allegedly operating a torture camp in the country’s Marange diamond fields, the BBC’s Panorama TV investigative show reported.
Victims told of severe beatings and sexual assault, Panorama said Monday.
The claims come as the European Union is considering a partial lift of a trade ban on Zimbabwe’s diamonds dating back to 2009 imposed by the Kimberley Process, the international organization that polices diamonds.
The ban of Zimbabwe diamonds from world markets came after reports of killings and abuses by Zimbabwe’s security forces in the diamond fields.
Witnesses described conditions in the alleged torture camp in Zengeni near Marange.
“It is the place of torture where sometimes miners are unable to walk on account of the beatings,” a victim who was released from the camp in February told the BBC.
There have been reports of an additional camp located in nearby Muchena, Panorama said.
Civilians recruited by the police and military to illegally dig for diamonds for them are taken to the torture camps if they demand too large a share, the program said.
Civilians found mining for themselves are also tortured in the camps, the report said.