Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on as he gives a media conference at the State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 3, 2018. REUTERS / PHILIMON BULAWAYO
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on as he gives a media conference at the State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 3, 2018. REUTERS / PHILIMON BULAWAYO

Harare — Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday vowed to investigate the security forces after they launched a brutal crackdown on protesters, activists and organisers of demonstrations that erupted last week.

"Violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe," he said on Twitter. "Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated. Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll."

He also sharply criticised the protests that were marked by rioting and looting.

"Everyone has the right to protest, but this was not a peaceful protest. Wanton violence and cynical destruction; looting police stations, stealing guns and uniforms; incitement and threats of violence," he said. "This is not the Zimbabwean way."

Mnangagwa issued his statement after landing back in Harare, having cut short a foreign tour seeking much-needed investment.

The protests, which were sparked by the government's more than doubling of fuel prices, were met with a fierce response from the army and police.

At least 12 people were killed and 78 treated for gunshot injuries, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, which recorded more than 240 incidents of assault and torture.

About 700 people have been arrested.

AFP