Bulawayo– A Gwanda based political activist Shyton Elliott who was reported abducted last week by suspected state agents has been found alive but “very sick”, human rights lawyers have said.
Matebeleland South Human Rights chairperson, Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo said Elliott (46) was found on Monday and is “at a place of safety” within the country.
“We have been following the case and have managed to locate him as of today (Monday) and he is at a place of safety within the country. His case has been presented to the lawyers for human rights and they are handling the case,” Fuzwayo said.
“He is alive but not very well. We are in the process of getting him a medical assessment because according to him, he was made to drink some chemicals and has been having a running tummy for the past four days.
“He looks dehydrated, very weak and in a state of very serious shock. He doesn’t want people around him and lawyers for human rights are facilitating an immediate counselling,” he added.
Fuzwayo said Elliott believed that he was abducted by the members of CIO because they took him to the offices of the CIO Gwanda district where they tortured and interrogated him.
“He has shown us his physical scars, signs of swollen hands, signs of being handcuffed. At the time of disappearing, he was wearing a very long dreadlock and he said it was violently cut-off. According to him, they used a knife to cut it off and is not aware where the dreadlock is,” Fuzwayo added.
Fuzwayo said according to Elliott, he was picked up by a group of 12 people in broad daylight at a shopping centre in Gwanda. Contrary to media reports, he said he was not detained overnight or any number of days.
“They picked him up around 1pm in the afternoon and dumped him in the boot of a car somewhere in the Central Business District of Gwanda around 6pm from where he found his way to rural areas; where out of trauma perhaps has been hiding for the last four or five days when everybody was looking for him. He made his way to Bulawayo over the weekend where he presented himself for safe keeping through human rights organisations,” he narrated.
Fuzwayo said Elliott did not belong to any political party and was just a critic of President Robert Mugabe.
“He can’t tell what the motive behind abduction was. It can be political because he said during the torture he was told to stop opposing the ruling party.”
Fuzwayo said more details would be released after the report has been made to the police as for now it was not safe.
The abduction follows another one of a political activist Itai Dzamara who was abducted in Harare in a similar manner and has not been seen almost a year on.