Even for Mugabe, this is extreme. The journalist was rumored to have provided photos of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after being beaten.
Eyewitnesses saw a group of armed men abduct Mr Chikombo last Thursday. His captors drove a silver pick-up truck of the same make used in numerous similar abductions during a sustained three-week terror campaign targeting government opponents.Meanwhile, Zimbabwe state media (which is not independent and is controlled by Mugabe) is threatening British Embassy political officer Gillian Dare.
The pattern of abductions and punishment beatings has become a terrifying nightly ritual in Zimbabwe, where scores of opposition activists and their relatives have been attacked by gangs using unmarked cars and police-issue weapons. The government has refused to confirm or deny its involvement in these "hit squads" but Mr Mugabe has spoken of the police's right to "bash" the opposition and of "terrorist acts" by opponents.
The state Herald, a government mouthpiece, called Dare "the purse holder and financier" of an alleged violence and terror campaign by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.It doesn't exactly sound as though Mugabe is feeling much heat from his neighbors, does it?
"It will be a pity for her family to welcome her home at Heathrow Airport in a body bag just like some of her colleagues from Iraq and Afghanistan," wrote David Samuriwo in an article prominently displayed on the newspaper's leader page.
It said Dare, "labeled in some sections of the media as a British spy, could one day be caught in the crossfire as she plays night nurse to arrested MDC hooligans."