May 12, 2008 / 5:24 PM / 12 years ago

Hackers shut down Zimbabwe state newspaper website

HARARE (Reuters) - Hackers attacked the website of Zimbabwe’s state-owned Herald newspaper and shut it down for three days, the newspaper said on Monday.

The Herald is widely seen as the official mouthpiece of President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party and has been critical of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which won the country’s disputed March 29 elections.

The website has been unavailable since Saturday after it was hacked by someone calling himself “r4b00f”. Visitors were redirected to the website of a state-owned Sunday newspaper.

Headlines on the site were replaced by the word Gukurahundi, referring to a campaign of atrocities the government has been accused of committing after independence.

“Yes we have been hacked. We are still waiting for our service providers to give us feedback. But we should be up and running by tomorrow,” Herald IT Manager Thomson Ndovi told Reuters.

Human rights groups accuse Mugabe’s government of carrying out the atrocities after independence in western Zimbabwe, leaving about 20,000 dead.

The government says it was quelling an insurgency by the then opposition PF-ZAPU renegades and disputes the number of people killed.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said at the weekend he would contest a run-off presidential vote against Mugabe even though he believes he won outright in the first round and accuses the ruling ZANU-PF of vote-rigging.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Writing by Marius Bosch

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