By Our Correspondent
BUHERA, June 12, 2007 - Seven uniformed army officials stormed the rural home of a senior army officer here and threatened to kill his father and other family members if they did not disclose his whereabouts.
Colonel Ben Ncube is accused, along with three other senior army officials, of being the masterminds of an attempted coup against President Mugabe on Sunday last week.
"It was at around 10.45 pm," a family member said, "when a man dressed in army uniformed knocked on the door and asked if this was the Ncube family.
When my sister confirmed that it was he went to a car that was parked outside.
He came back accompanied by six other men who were also dressed in military uniform. "They asked my father several questions about Ben and his family. They threatened to kill him and everyone else around if he insisted that Ben was in Harare .
"They asked if Ben had informed the family of any intention to travel abroad over the past few months. In fact, they said they knew that Ben had wanted to leave the country. They said they wanted to know where he had gone to."
The family member and a high-ranking army official, who spoke on condition his name was not published, expressed genuine fear of possible victimization, including torture or killing of members of Col Ncube's family. "If they are now visiting his village the next possible move is that they will abduct, torture or kill his closest relatives," said the officer, "Their focal aim will be to force the family to disclose details of his whereabouts."
President Robert Mugabe is said to have survived an assassination plot afterjunior and middle ranking officers led by three senior officers attempted to attackhis two residences in Harare. The deputy commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Vice Marshal Elson Moyo and Major General Engelbert Rugeje, the Quartermaster Generalat Army Headquarters were arrested after being implicated in the attempted coupand assassination plot.
The whereabouts of Ncube remain unknown.
It has been suggested that he may have crossed the border into Botwsana early last week en route to the United States, where some members of the Ncube family are said to be based.