The United States on Wednesday expanded sanctions against two senior Zimbabwean officials accused of suppressing protests, demanding that Harare allow peaceful demonstrations.
The Treasury Department said it was blocking any US assets of Owen Ncube, the state security minister, and Anselem Sanyatwe, a former commander of the presidential guard, and making any US transactions with them a crime.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement urged Zimbabwe to “immediately end state-sponsored violence including against peaceful protesters” and to investigate human rights abuses.
“The Trump administration will hold accountable corrupt Zimbabwean elites for their repressive and violent rule,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich said in a separate statement.
The State Department last year banned any travel to the United States by Sanyatwe or Ncube. Zimbabwe summoned the US ambassador to protest the restrictions on Sanyatwe, who is now the ambassador to Tanzania.
Sanyatwe is accused of commanding soldiers who opened fire on unarmed demonstrators who were protesting a delay in election results in 2018, killing six.
The episode prompted international outrage against President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who initially appeared willing to break from the brutality of longtime dictator Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in 2017.
In January 2019, the army also attacked protesters marching against a hefty fuel price hike, leaving 17 dead.
The Treasury Department said Wednesday it was lifting sanctions on Ray Kaukonde, a businessman and former provincial governor who was purged from the ruling party in 2015.