In the last two articles, I detailed the war crimes committed by the Rhodesians at Chimoio. However, it was not only at Chimoio that the Rhodesians committed war crimes, it was throughout the war of liberation.
HAVING committed the crime of armed robbery to take for themselves land that belonged to others, nothing was beyond the Rhodesians to protect this armed robbery.
From 1893 to 1897, our people waged a relentless war to drive out the white menace.
In response, Rhodesians committed many war crimes.
They burnt down villages, destroyed livestock and crops, leaving the survivors destitute.
They destroyed crops in the fields and looted livestock so that people starved to death.
They blasted with dynamite thousands who had taken refuge in caves, causing most excruciating deaths and horrible injuries.
Many Zimbabweans were shot on sight; they were hanged, it was genocidal.
Many were murdered by the British in their criminal takeover of our land.
The intention was to wipe out the people of this land so that its wealth would be theirs, uncontested.
The beginning of the Second Chimurenga, from 1962 onwards, told the whites an unmistakable message.
Their war crimes during the First Chimurenga had not succeeded in cowing the people of Zimbabwe.
Like Mbuya Nehanda and the heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga, they were prepared to lay down their lives for their land.
They would fight to repossess their Zimbabwe.
So was born the Crocodile Gang of the early 1960s, the Chinhoyi 7 who, on April 28 1966, confronted the Rhodesian might head on and then we had the opening of the north-eastern frontier, whose first shot rang out at Altena Farm on December 21 1972 with the late General Solomon ‘Rex Nhongo’ Mujuru in command.
The message was unmistakable.
Zimbabweans wanted their land and were prepared to pay the ultimate price for it.
Nothing had changed.
The spirit was the same, just like Mbuya Nehanda, they were not afraid of anyone or anything.
True to character, during the Second Chimurenga as well, Rhodesians still committed war crimes.
Villages were raided and people were randomly picked.
In many cases, that was the last their families saw of them.
They were battered to death; no-one knows where they were buried.
The so-called international community was mute about these crimes.
Rhodesians turned the life of Zimbabweans into pure hell.
They killed hundreds at pungwes.
On May 14 1978, they attacked and killed 100 civilians who were at a pungwe at Kamungoma Village in Gutu.
They attacked in the full knowledge that they could not avoid civilians.
In fact, they made no effort to avoid civilians — they wanted them dead.
There was no outcry from anywhere about these criminal murders of civilians.
Selous Scouts masterminded the poisoning of clothing, food and water sources.
Clothing and food were soaked in toxic organophosphates for the elimination of freedom fighters and the masses.
The victims would bleed to death from the noses, ears and mouths.
When Ed Bird, as a recruit, discovered contaminated clothing being packed and asked how it was assured that only terrorists would find the clothing and not civilians, he was asked: “You’re new here, aren’t you mate?” Collateral damage, they call it now. Innocents caught in the ‘cross-fire’. (Simon Massey:2017)
In 1976, Selous Scouts released poisonous bacterial cultures into the Ruya River near the border with Mozambique.
This caused an epidemic with cholera-like symptoms.
Mozambican villagers and freedom fighters died as a result. They even poisoned a reservoir at a base camp of the Mozambique National Army, resulting in 200 people dying sudden painful deaths in the camp. (Ellert:1989)
Both Massey and Henry Ellert, a former Special Branch officer, reveal that Selous Scouts carried out experiments with chemical poisons on Africans in their custody.
Ellert illustrates: “In late 1975 a group of young African men were arrested in a Salisbury township as suspected guerilla recruits and taken to police headquarters to be questioned. After a brief period of detention they were released into the custody of the scouts ‘for further questioning’ and taken to a camp at Mount Darwin in the north east of the country which had been mothballed for months.
The camp was opened to accommodate several scouts, a team of army doctors and the unfortunate Africans.
Some days later, the local police were asked to supply vehicles to remove bodies from the camp for disposal in a local mineshaft.”
Ellert confirms Selous Scouts were hugely funded by apartheid South Africa and that the Sultanate of Oman armed and funded Rhodesia, which supports Massey’s conclusion from Glen Cross’s research that this gang of terror was funded by the British through the Gulf States via South Africa.
Selous Scouts masquerading as freedom fighters murdered missionaries in order to incriminate the freedom fighters.
At St Paul’s Musami Mission, Murehwa, they killed four Dominican Sisters and three Jesuit Priests.
Though the Rhodesian regime blamed this on freedom fighters, Father Myerscough, a survivor of the massacre, denied this.
Villagers around the mission also denied this.
They knew the freedom fighters who operated in the area and they also knew the way the freedom fighters operated (Nzira Dzemasoja).
A deserter from the Rhodesian army, Thomas Wood, told a British newspaper that this was the work of the Selous Scouts.
In June 1978, at Elim Mission up in the Vumba Mountains, Rhodesians massacred nine missionaries and their four children.
They went all out to blame freedom fighters, producing what they claimed was a freedom fighter they had killed and on whose body they had found a note book linking him to the massacre.
Within the Special Branch, however, it was known that this was an internal job by the Rhodesians.
“Not everyone in the Rhodesian Intelligence community was entirely happy about the affair.
Ellert cites a special branch colleague at the nearby Grand Reef air-base who was sceptical.
He knew that the government was finalising plans for a secret propaganda exercise, named ‘Operation Favour’, designed to win international and domestic support for an internal settlement.
He uncovered the fact that some 30 Government auxiliaries loyal to the discredited nationalist Ndabaningi Sithole had been deployed in the area.
These men had already committed vile atrocities against African villagers.
He also knew the skill with which the Scouts forged documents. (MacManus:1989)
Bishop Lamont, the Bishop of Mutare (then Umtali), had this reaction:
“‘Can we assume it was the guerillas who killed them?’ asked the Catholic Bishop of Umtali (Mutare) Donald Lamont.
‘I had a visit from one of my African clergy who reported he was terrorised by white members of the security forces and they said to him: ‘You had better watch out. One dead missionary is as good as 100 dead terrorists to us’.
‘I would say this, that if it were the object of the guerillas to kill missionaries, there should not be one of us alive,’ he said.”
The freedom fighters would not have committed such a crime. The spirituality and ethos of our freedom struggle would not have permitted it.
This is why, throughout the liberation struggle, civilians were safe with freedom fighters.
Ours was a spiritual war guided by the holiest of principles.