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Zimbabwe says cholera crisis is result of Western germ warfare

December 14, 2008|Associated Press

HARARE, ZIMBABWE — Zimbabwe on Saturday accused the West of waging biological warfare and starting a cholera epidemic that has killed hundreds of people and sickened thousands.

The state-run Herald newspaper quoted the information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, as blaming the cholera outbreak on "serious biological chemical war . . . a genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British."

"Cholera is a calculated racist terrorist attack on Zimbabwe by the unrepentant former colonial power which has enlisted support from its American and Western allies so that they invade the country," Ndlovu was quoted as saying.

The Herald said comments by the U.S. ambassador that the United States had been preparing for the cholera outbreak had raised suspicions.

The Zimbabwean government's stranglehold on most sources of news makes such rhetoric an important tool for a regime struggling to hold on to power.

Experts blame the epidemic on Zimbabwe's economic collapse. The World Health Organization said Friday that the death toll was 792 and that the number of cholera cases reported since the outbreak began in August was 16,700.

Aid agencies have said that the outbreak could worsen with the onset of the rainy season and that the disease had spread to Zimbabwe's neighbors.

President Robert Mugabe said Thursday that his government, with the help of international agencies, had contained the epidemic.

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