US warns of rising tensions

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Staff Writer

The United States government has warned its citizens against travelling into Zimbabwe due to rising political tensions and a surge in crime levels.

The southern African nation economy is floundering as seen by rising inflation, fuel shortages and high unemployment.

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation quickened to 75,86 percent in April, up from 66,8 percent in March.

“Exercise increased caution in Zimbabwe due to crime and civil unrest,” the US government said in a Travel Advisory released on Tuesday.

“Violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common. Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”

Efforts to get comment from police spokesperson Paul Nyathi were in vain as his phone was not reachable.

Early this year Zimbabwe experienced a wave of violent protests after government increased the prices of petrol and diesel, from $1.33 to $3.34 in local currency for petrol and $1.20 to $3.20 for diesel.

Official figures show that seven people died during and after the protests while human rights organisations put the tally at 26 people.

Nearly 100 were left nursing gunshot wounds.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa told a crowd attending May Day celebrations in Harare that the rising cost of living could trigger demonstrations.