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UK announces sanctions against 4 Zimbabwean security chiefs

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. has imposed sanctions on four top Zimbabwean security officials blamed for a variety of human rights abuses, including the deaths of 23 anti-government protesters.

The measures, which bar the four men from traveling to the U.K. or channeling money through the country’s banks, are part of a wider British push for economic and political reform in Zimbabwe.

The sanctions are the first Britain has imposed unilaterally since it severed ties with the European Union at the beginning of this year.

The sanctions apply to Owen Ncube, minister for state security; Isaac Moyo, director general of the Central Intelligence Organization; Godwin Matanga, commissioner general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police; and Anselem Sanyatwe, commander of the Presidential Guard.

“These sanctions send a clear message that we will hold to account those responsible for the most egregious human rights violations, including the deaths of innocent Zimbabweans,’’ Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

The Foreign Office said it was targeting the worst human rights abuses since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power in 2017. Those include a crackdown on protests in January 2019 that led to the deaths of 17 people and post-election violence in August 2018 that resulted in six deaths.

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