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The US sanctions were imposed 2002 during the regime of former President Robert Mugabe

The US has extended sanctions against Zimbabwe's top leaders citing their actions to "undermine democratic processes or institutions".

US President Donald Trump wrote to Congress on Wednesday saying the restrictions will not be removed until Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration implements political reforms.

He accused the government of persecuting critics and economic mismanagement in the past year.

Mr Trump had written: "These actions and policies by certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."

He also accused security forces of "extrajudicial killings, rapes and alleged abductions of dissidents".

Zimbabwe's government spokesperson Nick Mangwana said in a statement that the government "strongly objects" to the accusation of extrajudicial killings and called the US decision to extend the sanctions "baffling".

The financial and travel restrictions currently apply to 85 individuals, including President Mnangagwa. They target both specific individuals and companies.

Mr Mnangagwa led nationwide demonstrations in October 2019 against US and EU sanctions. He blamed them for crippling development in the country.

A group of 16 African countries - the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) - also called on the US and EU to "immediately lift" sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.


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