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Zimbabwe's pro-Mugabe war vets draw hard line

In a rare interview, militia leader threatens to take over more white-owned farms and businesses.

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STAYING? Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe at a funeral Saturday said he would not hand over power to the opposition.

Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

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– The man behind Zimbabwe's most feared militia, the War Veterans, has all the credentials of a dedicated fighter except one: He's never fought in combat.

Graduating from boot camp in Angola just after Zimbabwe's "war of liberation" against white-minority rule ended in 1980, Jabulani Sibanda soldiered on as an organizer for President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, the ZANU-PF.

It was Mr. Sibanda who led so-called war veterans to take white-owned farms by force, starting in 2000. Today, Sibanda – one of the hardest hard-liners in the ruling ZANU-PF – is blamed for orchestrating attacks on opposition supporters in the lead-up to a runoff election on June 27.

"We are definitely winning," says a confident Sibanda, in an exclusive interview in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Despite South African-sponsored talks held last week, Sibanda says there is no possibility of a power-sharing deal between Mr. Mugabe's party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

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