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Zimbabwe's Jesuits offer sanctuary to those trying to escape violence

Jesuits working in Zimbabwe promised to turn their churches into safe havens to offer sanctuary to anyone trying to escape the mounting political violence in the country.

The 194 members of the Zimbabwean Jesuit province, which includes 35 Britons, unanimously agreed on two statements to condemn the state-sponsored violence in the run-up to Zimbabwe's presidential elections in March, reported the London-based newspaper The Catholic Herald.

The first statement makes the sanctuary offer, while the second attacks the government's political indoctrination and manipulation of Zimbabwe's youth and warns of civil war.

In the 9-10 March election, Robert Mugabe, a Jesuit-educated Catholic who has ruled Zimbabwe since it won independence from Britain in 1980, is running for re-election.