I was very, very hungry: Doctor Peter Magombeyi who was found in Nyabira opens up

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Doctor Peter Magombeyi who went missing on September 14 told reporters he had no visible injuries but had “general body pains” after he was found in Nyabira, 35km northwest of Harare.

Magombeyi last spoke to colleagues by WhatsApp at 10.19PM last Saturday, telling them that he was being kidnapped by three men.

He called colleagues suddenly on Thursday evening, after days of pressure on the Zimbabwe government by doctors and diplomats, to say he had been dumped by his captors.

The Voice of America’s Studio 7 managed to get through to Magombeyi as word spread that he was alive. His recollection of events is very scant, he had earlier told colleagues that he found himself in the dark in the bush before walking towards the lights he could see – a local shopping centre.

“I’m just having body pains. I don’t know where I was, I can barely remember anything… I need time to recall everything,” Magombeyi told the radio station.

Responding to a series of questions about his captors, where he had been kept and how he had been treated, the doctor could only say “I barely remember anything” or “I don’t know.”

He said he only remembered finding himself in the bush. His phone was in his pocket and had been turned off.

In a hint that he had been held against his will, he referred to what he called “perpetrators”.

“I’m just unkempt. I can’t see any obvious injuries, just body pains. I’m near normal,” Magombeyi said.

He said he had used a mobile money service to buy a fruit.

“I was very, very hungry,” he said.

Magombeyi said he was unable to locate his identity card.

He told Studio 7 that he had phoned colleagues to come and fetch him and was waiting on roadside. When his colleagues arrived with lawyers, they were advised that police had taken him.

Colleagues believe Magombeyi was seized by state security agents in a bid to break a strike by junior doctors ongoing since September 3.

The government denied a hand in the abduction, with ministers blaming what they called a “third force” out to taint the country’s image abroad.

Dr Mthabisi Bhebhe, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association which Magombeyi leads, told ZimLive that they were relieved that their colleague is returning to his family.

“We’re relieved that he’s alive. This episode has only emboldened us to fight even harder to secure a fair wage for doctors,” Bhebhe said.

— ZimLive


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