Archbishop Pius Ncube, in an interview with the magazine Inside the Vatican, said that President Robert Mugabe has been using the army to inflict brutality for years.
The 60-year-old archbishop, speaking of the years before his episcopal ordination, said: “The 5th Brigade of Mugabe was killing innocent civilians — this amounted to more than 10,000. Some of these people were my relatives.
“Estimates are that between 10,000 and 20,000 innocent civilians had been killed. Some of these people were over 70 and 80 years old, which shows how merciless the dictator Mugabe is.”
In April, the bishops of Zimbabwe published a pastoral letter called “God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed.” The letter pointed to Mugabe as the cause of the country’s crisis.
Archbishop Ncube said: “It was imperative that such a letter be issued. The situation of the people was becoming worse and worse.
He added that after the letter’s publication, the regime increased efforts to frighten priests, though “the intimidation of clergy has been on going for a long time.”