The Herald, which has been widely supportive of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF political party, has fallen victim to hackers

A Zimbabwean newspaper widely regarded as President Robert Mugabe's mouthpiece has been shut down by hackers.

The Herald has been supportive of Mugabe's regime and heavily critical of opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Hackers forced the site down on Saturday, the state-owned newspaper admitted, and website visitors were redirected to another Zimbabwean newspaper. Headlines on the site were reportedly replaced by the word "Gukurahundi", which refers to a campaign of atrocities the government has been accused of committing since independence.

"Yes, we have been hacked. We are waiting for our service providers to give us feedback," Herald IT manager Thomson Ndovi told Reuters yesterday. The site was up-and-running today.

Tensions are running high in Zimbabwe amid political uncertainty. The MDC won the country's election on 29 March, but its leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces a presidential run-off against Mugabe after he failed to achieve an overall majority. Tsvangirai claims the vote was rigged.

Human rights groups claim Mugabe's government has killed a total of 20,000 people in Western Zimbabwe since he was elected 28 years ago.