HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 6 (UPI) -- U.S. and British diplomats report threats and other harassment in Zimbabwe amid government banning of all work by foreign aid agencies.
U.S. Ambassador James McGee said in an Harare interview that a convoy carrying U.S. officials had been stopped and detained by Zimbabwean security forces "who threatened to burn our people alive in the car if they did not leave the vehicles," the Guardian, a British newspaper, reported.
The Americans, who said they were trying to investigate reported violence against opposition parties, were held for several hours at Bindura, 50 miles from Harare.
The U.S. State Department called the detention and harassment "absolutely outrageous."
Zimbabwe's government, in issuing its total ban, accused the foreign aid agencies of campaigning for opposition parties in the country's disputed presidential election. President Robert Mugabe faces a June 27 runoff against the opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe's deputy information minister, Bright Matonga, said the diplomats were stopped at a roadblock on their way back to Harare and refused a request to disembark.
"Basically, the police told them they were not going anywhere unless they got out of the car," Matonga said. "The police told them they should respect the laws of the country unless they have something to hide."
Matonga later said the diplomats had addressed the opposition rally.