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Zimbabwe charities report new state onslaught

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – Civic organizations say authorities loyal to Zimbabwe’s president have launched a new onslaught against humanitarian agencies by demanding illegal levies and putting them under surveillance.

President Robert Mugabe has frequently accused charities of opposing his rule and campaigning against his party. He has called for fresh elections this year.

An alliance of civic groups said Sunday that authorities across the country have imposed charges of up to $1,000 to allow them to operate.

The practice is “theft and extortion,” they said, adding that many non-governmental groups also reported “direct surveillance” by intelligence agents and the military that hurt services to the needy.

Unless stopped, they say, “the ultimate loser will be the most vulnerable and marginalized communities and individuals.”

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