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Another activist who was investigating abuses in Zimbabwe’s diamond region was harassed repeatedly, it said.

A third activist told investigators that security forces abducted her from her home in 2008 while she was in pajamas. The activist said men repeatedly questioned her about other activists while beating the soles of her feet to the point that she suffered from internal bleeding, according to the report.

Those not beaten often find themselves at the mercy of laws in Zimbabwe that make it difficult to hold opposition meetings or publish critical articles, according to the report.

It listed several circumstances in which protesters were attacked by riot police while demonstrating peacefully.


Rebels slowly begin to retreat from Masisi

GOMA — Rebels thought to be backed by Rwanda began retreating from the territory they seized last week and pulled out of Masisi, their military leader said Wednesday, in the first concrete sign that international pressures have stemmed the advance of the ruthless fighters.

Gen. Sultani Makenga, the military chief of the 8-month-old rebellion, said his fighters intend to abide by an ultimatum issued by the nations neighboring Congo, which called for the M23 rebels to retreat no later than Friday to 12 miles outside of Goma, the major, eastern city that fell to the fighters eight days ago.

He said he had ordered his fighters to retreat along the southeastern axis from Masisi to Goma, and they then will leave Goma via the northern route to Rutshuru.

“My soldiers began to retreat from Masisi yesterday. We will go via Goma and then after that we will retreat to [12 miles] past Goma toward Rutshuru,” Gen. Makenga told The Associated Press. “I think that, by Friday, we will be able to complete this.”

Congolese spokesman Lambert Mende, who is based in the country’s capital more than 1,000 miles to the west, confirmed that the government had received reports of troops pulling out of Masisi.

“Yes, there are reports of movements [of rebels out of Masisi], but we won’t label it a retreat until it’s over. They have played this game with us before, where they say they are moving and then find a reason not to,” Mr. Mende said. “There will be no negotiations with Congo until they are [12 miles] outside the Goma city limit.”

In Goma, there was skepticism over the rebels’ claim and confusion, after the leader of M23’s political wing insisted that the fighters were not leaving the city of 1 million that is the economic heart of one of Congo’s mineral-rich regions.

M23 Vice Minister of the Interior Theophile Ruremesha told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s government needs to meet the rebels’ wide-ranging demands for them to leave the city.

“For humanitarian reasons, we cannot leave the town in the hands of just anybody,” he said. “Creating the neutral force will take some time.”

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