There are growing fears  that Zanu PF militias and war
veterans, on the rampage in the rural areas since March, were planning
to target journalists viewed as hostile to President Robert Mugabe's
regime, according to a report in the Zimbabwe Standard.

On separate occasions, impeccable sources warned journalists to be "extra cautious" as there were plans to abduct them.

The sources said a "hit list" – headed Deal with these people – of independent and freelance journalists as well as human rights activists had already been compiled and the exercise was scheduled to begin tonight.

The journalists, together with civil society, were viewed as having contributed to Zanu PF's defeat last March.

What seemed certain, according to the sources, was that the plan involved top government and Zanu PF officials.

On Friday, a Standard crew assigned to follow up the death of four MDC activists in Chitungwiza, was forced to abort its mission after it became apparent they were being trailed by a white truck with no number plates. Later, the truck was spotted again tailing the crew.

On realising they were being trailed, The Standard crew took what they believed was evasive action, stopping at Chikwanha shopping centre.

But the white truck, which initially appeared to be proceeding to Makoni shopping centre, pulled up at the shops.

The Standard team intended to go to Seke Unit F, where the MDC activists were found dead on Thursday after being abducted.

Security sources say journalists from The Standard may be on the list because of their coverage of the ongoing political violence.

The threats to journalists working for independent media came as newspaper vendors also targeted, with many of them being harassed for selling independent newspapers. Yesterday, a shipment of The Zimbabwean being brought into the countries ran into difficulties, with officials from the newspaper being advised to seek clearance from Zanu PF.

A senior government source hinted last week authorities feared the newspaper's reports could be used at The Hague, should the perpetrators be charged with crimes against humanity.

Click here to read the full report, posted on allafrica.com.