Massacre of the Innocents
Cover picture: Natasha Glenny, six and a half months old, who was bayoneted to death by 20 terrorists in September, 1977.


Rural black Rhodesians-men, women and children-have been the major victims of the country's escalating terror war. As it enters its sixth year, more than 2 500 black civilians have been killed, compared with 121 white civilians and 400 members of the Security Forces (black and white). Thousands more black civilians have been injured.

Known terrorist losses amount to over 3 690 within Rhodesia, many more have been killed in raids on terrorist bases in Mozambique, and it is certain that many hundreds more have died as the result of wounds, malnutrition and disease in base camps across the border.

Tragically, the villagers are dying in a war they do not want, waged to further a political creed they do not understand or care about. Many have died agonisingly after torture, mutilation, burning and beating. Others have had lips, ears and cheeks hacked off, which relatives have been forced to cook and eat.

Cattle and other livestock were slaughtered or hamstrung, huts and grain stores were burnt by marauding gangs during the early part of the war. Unarmed villagers were forced to watch the senseless destruction by terrorists equipped with automatic weapons. Today, many thousands have taken grateful refuge in protected villages or live in communities protected by the security forces and the para-military wing of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The increasingly heavy toll exacted by the security forces has caused the desperate terrorists leaders and political commissars to abduct schoolchildren for training. Many who attempted to escape have been shot.

In some remote areas, mission schools have been closed because of the murder and intimidation of the staff by terrorists.

Although white farm and livestock output rose during the first eight months of 1977, black output fell by 8,7 per cent, to $18,8 million because of the war.

The terrorists are themselves terrified of the security forces and make every effort to avoid contacts with them. They concentrate instead on "soft" targets. High on their list are mission stations where the residents are known to be unarmed.

Dedicated missionaries, female and male, including a 71-year-old former Bishop of Bulawayo, have been gunned down.

Children, black and white, have also been victims of the heavily-armed gangs. In one instance, a six-month-old child, Natasha Glenny, was dragged from the arms of her nanny and bayoneted to death by a 20-strong group. In another, a gang of children were mortared as they played on the lawns of a country club.

But the majority of child casualties have been black. They died with their parents in massacres, burnt to death in their huts as they slept, or were blown up by landmines planted indiscriminately throughout the Tribal Trust Lands.

In the first weeks of 1978 terrorist savagery reached a peak which seemed timed to co-incide with the visit to Mozambique of Lord Carver, the resident commissioner-designate 'for Rhodesia under the Anglo-American proposals.

In four bloody days-from January 7 to January 10-terrorists killed 17 people, six of whom were children.

Three of the children were white. They were murdered when terrorists attacked the farms on which fhey were living. Three adults were killed in the attacks. One, a 74-year-old woman who was confined to her bed and was reliant on oxygen, was shot through a bedroom window'while eating her evening meal from a tray.

Three black children on their way to school were callously butchered by terrorists who ambushed the vehicle in which they were travelling, shooting two in the head at point-blank range after firing rifle-grenades into the vehicle. The third schoolboy died on the way to hospital. The driver of the vehicle was killed instantly.

A 15-year-old white schoolboy was murdered on January 11. Terrorists struck when Colin Tilley and his parents arrived at their home near Salisbury, riddling the car with automatic fire from close range. When Colin's father returned fire, the terrorists fled.

All these atrocities have been condoned by the United Nations, and governments and individuals who constantly provide funds for the "freedom fighters".

Conveniently overlooked has been the faction fighting between terrorist bands who support one or other of the power hungry nationalist leaders. They are leaders who, though allegedly united under a single ideology, know that failure to triumph tribally will mean their bloody elimination if power is ever handed to any but themselves.


The high ratio of rural blacks murdered by terrorists compared with any other sector of the community underlines the blatant hypocrisy of the terrorists' claims to be "freedom fighters".

Similarly, their claims to have the backing and support of the tribesmen have been disproved by their need to forceably abduct youngsters, teenagers and the elderly to join their ranks, either as potential fighters or as porters.

The freedom from intimidation, mutilation and murder increasingly provided by the tough, highly-mobile wings of the security forces has denied food supplies previously extorted by terrorist gangs. Bids to rustle cattle have been similarly thwarted.

As a result, death by starvation is another of the hazards faced by terrorists. It is not uncommon for the spoor of a terrorist to end with the discovery of his emaciated corpse, and for the subsequent autopsy to show he had been existing on grass and roots.

The announcement by the Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, of his qualified acceptence of the Kissinger peace proposals appeared to spur the terrorists to new depths of desperate murder.

Sixteen tribespeople were killed less than two weeks after the announcement, by a gang which attacked Nakiwa consolidated village.


A "Rhodesia Herald" reporter who visited the scene wrote: - "Amid the carnage an African woman sat trying to feed sadza (porridge) to a baby with shrapnel in both lips. The child was four months old. Perhaps six. It was difficult to say.

"The shrapnel protruded from bleeding gums, a grotesque epitaph to terrorist savagery.

"But the baby was alive. Around the woman and her child were mutilated bodies, victims of one of the most cowardly terrorist attacks in the war to date. Six bodies were heaped around the tail fin of a mortar.

"There was a child without arms or legs. Another without a groin. A youth with gross stomach wounds. A man with lungs filled with shrapnel.

"There was a woman with her back blown out. Another with her buttocks blown off. A 70-year-old woman lay some distance away. She had no head, the shattered remains lay some 40 m away.

"Another woman lay on the ground. She was wounded, but alive. The baby strapped to her back was dead, its head filled with shrapnel. There was a pregnant woman minus a leg. She later aborted.

"In all, 16 were dead - nine of them children. Another 16 are in hospital. Some may die, others have wounds that will leave them permanently disabled."

One of the victims, a deputy headmaster, was shot through the head at point blank range. The others died as a result of mortaring.


The terrorists fled as soon as security forces, alerted by a villager, arrived at the scene.

In a second outrage, less than a week later, terrorists shot dead 12 black men and wounded five others.

One of the largest terrorist atrocities committed again their own people occurred on December 20, 1976, in the Honde Valley, which borders on Mozambique. It was reported by the "Rhodesia Herald" defence reporter Chris Reynolds.

He wrote: "Terrorists massacred 27 unarmed black workers as their wives and children watched on a tea estate. The mass killing was described as the most callous in the terrorist war - if not in the country's history.

"The terrorists, numbering between 20 and 30, entered a compound at 8.38 p.m. and rounded up all the men, women and children they could find.


"They stripped them of all their personal possessions, including clothing and radios, and marched them for more than one kilometre to a lighted factory building.

"There they herded the 35 women and children into a separate group. They were forced to put their heads between their knees.

The men were forced to lie on the ground. For three or four minutes the terrorists fired at the helpless bodies.

"Nine Mozambique nationals died. Eight Malawi nationals died. So did 10 Rhodesians. Eleven other men were injured, some of them Zambians."

Reynolds interviewed the wife of one of the Malawian victims, the father of five children. She told him: "The terrorists have been here before telling us not to work for the white man. When they came last night they told us we had disobeyed their instructions. They told us they were taking us away. They told us our salaries were so low we would be better off dead, so they were going to shoot us."

During that Christmas period, the war claimed the lives of 45 Africans. In one incident, terrorists tortured eight Africans, four of them women, before shooting them.

On December 22, terrorists locked Mr. Stephen Chindomu and his wife, Afreda, a couple hi their sixties, in their hut. They had earlier dragged their son, Wonder, outside and shot him through the hip before bayoneting him to death.


They took the couple's two daughters, Connie, aged 19, and Chipo aged 23, and roped them together before gunning them down at point, blank range. Chipo was pregnant, and both girls had babies.

Eight days later in the extreme north-east of the country a 20-strong terrorist gang burned down 212 of 380 huts in Kandeya consolidated village complex, before the tribesmen had an opportunity to salvage their belongings. The gang used civilians as a human shield when security forces arrived. Twenty-one died in the ensuing action.

On April 9, 1977, seven African men were herded out of a kraal in the Eastern Districts by a terrorist gang and brutally beaten before being shot dead.


The following month, on May 22, an overcrowded pick-up truck hit a terrorist landmine while travelling on a road never used by the security forces. Evidence found at the scene later indicated that a single terrorist hid and watched as the explosion ripped apart the vehicle. detonating petrol in a container in the rear. Fourteen occupants, including two children and six women, died a hideous death. Four others who sustained severe burns were taken to hospital by members of the security forces, where two later died.

A Combined Operations communique issued on July 20, 1977, reported the murder by terrorists of the 23 members of a kraal who were forced into a hut and burnt alive. The following is a summary of a report by Defence Reporter Reynolds, who was a member of a Press party which visited the scene:

"Murdered were Mr. John Chiriwa, his nine wives and 13 of his 36 children. The children included two girls aged two and four, a boy and girl, both aged six, and two boys aged six.

He quoted security force Captain Fred Ingram, who was first on the scene. "When we got here we found the entire village had been wiped out and the kraal gutted.

"The victims were dragged from their sleeping quarters and herded together in one hut. The terrorists then set fire to the thatched roof." The atrocity took place at Chiriwa Kraal, in the Rushinga area, east of Mount Darwin.


Wrote Reynolds: "The massacre scene yesterday was one of unspeakable horror, with 22 charred bodies lying in twisted positions of agonising death inside the hut.

"Ten metres from the hut were the charred remains of the other body. Wild dogs or hyena had dragged it from the hut and chewed at the remains, leaving only the rib cage and skull.

"The 26-hut kraal was a scene of devastation. All huts had been gutted, with the exception of the sleeping quarters where there were signs of the struggle put up by the women and children as they were dragged to their deaths.

"In each bedrooom blankets littered the floors where they had been thrown aside as the victims were pulled from their beds.


"Goats and sheep were burnt alive in their pens. Farming equipment was destroyed. All that remained were a few goats and chickens that had escaped. The cattle and dogs had been driven off.

"In the sleeping quarters, dresses and other clothing hung from the ceiling. Treasured possessions lined the shelves of each room. There were a few school books."

The gang left a note at the scene. It said "Zimbabwe" would come through the barrel of a gun and "Forward with Z.A.N.L.A." (The Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army).

Referring to "Smith's soldiers" as "pigs, dogs and baboons" the note said: "Don't think you are going to win this war. Forget it. On this day you are going to see how bad we can be."

In the eastern operational area, on July 27, an African woman storekeeper was beaten to death with rocks by a terrorist gang. The store was robbed, then set alight by the gang who unsuccessfully attempted to rob another store in the same area.

Terrorist action against the urban black has been more often individual intimidation than open violence. An exception was the suitcase bomb planted in a Salisbury department store - popular with the local township's population - on a busy Saturday morning in "August, 1977.

The ensuing blast killed 11 people - three of them European - and injured 76 others. Women and children were among the dead. Two of the women were pregnant.


"The Sunday Mail" reporting team covering the carnage quoted a fireman. He said: "We're supposed to be tough, but I have never seen anything like this. I don't think I saw a complete body on the top floor. There was a Coloured girl with a large gash across her middle, a man without a head, limbs everywhere. The force of the blast burnt the skin off the victims."

The London "Daily Telegraph" in an editorial commented that "African marxist terrorists ran true to form in their parcel-bomb attack on a big Salisbury store while weekend shopping was in full swing.

It continued: "Typically, the attack was mainly against blacks, who ,were the overwhelming majority of those killed and maimed... the terrorists and their outside organizers are indeed growing desperate. The Rhodesian security forces - four-fifths black - are standing the strain better than expected. The intimidation against the black population is largely counter-productive."


The editorial concluded: "It cannot be justified under any circumstances. It befouls the cause which it is supposed to serve and reduces it to the level of gangsterdom."

The "Yorkshire Post" also condemned the cowardly act of intimidation. It said: "President Carter should look farther ahead than he seems to be doing - to the time, perhaps, when as a result of his present efforts there is tribal war in Rhodesia, a black marxist dictator there and a left-wing power-switch in all those African countries where he is now trying to make a favourable impression."


The contribution made by European missionaries to the welfare and education of the indigenous people of Rhodesia has been considerable. More than 30 years before the departure of the Pioneer Column from Kimberley, Dr. Robert Moffat had founded the Inyati Mission Station, and made it the first permanent settlement by Europeans in the country. Four years prior to that, Dr. Livingstone had discovered Victoria Falls.

It is perplexing, therefore, to fathom the motives of some members of the missionary clergy who have abdicated from a neutral role to outright support of the terrorists' atrocities. They included a Roman Catholic Bishop and an American-born nun, both of whom have been deported.


The nun kept a diary in which she expressed her admiration for the terrorists, whom she referred to as "the boys".

The combination of covert support and ostensible neutrality practised by some missionaries has not deterred the terrorists.

A terrorist, Albert Sumbe Ncube, who later publicly confessed responsibility, gunned down the 71-year-old former Bishop of Bulawayo, the Rt. Rev. Adolph Schmitt, and a Catholic priest and nun, on a lonely bush road in Matabeleland.

The sole survivor of the ambush, Sister Ermenfried Knauer, was shot through the left leg as she sought refuge under the bishop's car.


Dr. Johanna Davis, medical superintendent of nearby St. Luke's Mission Hospital, led police to the scene, then accompanied Sister Ermenfried to hospital. She later recounted the nun's eye witness story.

She said that the bishop's party were driving from their home mission, Regina Mundi, to St. Luke's Mission to visit a sick friend. On the road between Gwaai siding and the main Falls road a terrorist held them up and demanded money.

According to Dr. Davis, Sister Ermenfried said: "We told him we had no money with us, we were missionaries just out for the afternoon.

"We said: 'If you really need money, come back with us to the mission and we will help you'.

"The terrorist replied that as we had no money he would have to shoot us. He began gunning us down, starting with the bishop. He riddled him with bullets. Then he mowed down the others."

Sister Ermenfried said she presumed the terrorist thought she, too, was dead. He fired at her leg which was protruding from under the car.

In a subsequent statemen she said the terrorist said "missionaries are enemies of the people", immediately before he opened fire.


Albert Sumbe Ncube was a member of the Nkomo terrorist organization, Z.A.P.U. It was Bishop Schmitt who, in 1949, gave Mrs. Nkomo, a Roman Catholic, permission to marry her Methodist husband. She is president-general of the Catholic Women's Association of Matabeleland, and a fortnight before the murder had travelled on the same flight from Europe to Rhodesia as the Bishop.

She said after the shooting she was shocked and saddened. "The missionaries are like my parents to me."

The joint leaders of the Patriotic Front, Messrs. Mugabe and Nkomo, were in Geneva at the time of the murders, and self-righteously denied that their organization was responsible. They blamed the security forces.

Eight Catholic Bishops attended the funeral, which drew a large multiracial congregation, in Bulawayo. Although the black Archbishop "of Rhodesia, the most Rev. Patrick Chakaipa, and other church leaders expressed shock and horror, there was not much official reaction from the Vatican beyond a special apostolic blessing for the diocese of Bulawayo.


An anonymous Rhodesian farmer offered to pay for Sister Ermenfried to travel to Geneva to give testimony to the participants at the conference on Rhodesia's future, and the Sister originally agreed to go. However, the Mother-General of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood, reportedly on instructions from the Vatican, refused to allow her to do so.

On Sunday, February 6, 1977, a group of 12 Mugabe terrorists, some wearing camouflage uniforms, murdered seven white missionaries at St. Paul's Mission, Musame. Four of them were women.


Defence reporter Reynolds visited the scene of the atrocity, and wrote: "The attack is by far the most brutal against any Church in Rhodesia. In separate incidents they also murdered five black men not far from the Mission.

"The murdered missionaries.were forced to walk 100 m along a dirt road before the terrorists gunned them down."

Those who died were Father Thomas Martin, aged 45, British; Father Christopher Shepherd-Smith, aged 34, Kenyan; Brother John Conway, aged 57, Irish; Sister Epiphany Bertha Scheider, aged 73, German; Sister Joseph Paulina Wilkinson, aged 59, British; Sister Magdala Christa Lewandowski, aged 43, German; and Sister Ceslaus Anna Steigler, aged 60, German.


Two missionaries survived the attck. They were Father Dunstan Myerscough, aged 65, from Preston, Lancashire, and Sister Anna Victoria Reggel, aged 75.

Sister Anna, who was suffering from arthritis, fell as a terrorist tried to push her from her room to the killing ground. She was then ignored.

Wrote Reynolds: "The terrorists arrived at the mission, about 60 km from Salisbury, at 10 p.m. Their slaughter was completed in half an hour. The scene yesterday was marked by bloodstains on the dirt road. More than 100 spent cartridges were found - some RPD machine-gun, some AK rifle."

Describing the massacre at a Press interview, Father Myerscough said he heard a knock on his door. "Sister Magdala called to me to come out... I walked into the wrong end of a gun.

"There were about four or five terrorists outside my room. They ordered me to put my hands up and one told me to give him my watch." He described how the group of missionaries were herded "higgledy piggledy" on the roadway. "They opened fire. I fell down flat. I don't know how long the burst of gunfire lasted.

"I then heard the sound of running feet. I got to my feet and went to look at the others. There was nothing I could do for any of them."

He continued: "This was a senseless, insane, brutal killing. It was obviously the result of Russian indoctrination. In my opinion, if you want proof that the communists were behind this, come to this mission.

"The terrorists must have been got at to have that brutality in them. One day an end will come to all this. I just hope and pray it will be soon."

Predictably, the Patriotic Front blamed the atrocity on the security forces.


In a message to Archbishop Chakaipa, the Pope expressed "profound grief". Later, he described the kills as "painful action for the Church and civilization".

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States deplored the murders as did many other Catholic leaders.

However, Father Josef Amstutz, Superior-General of the Immensee Missionary Congregation, to which most Rhodesian Catholic missiona- ries belong, said in Lucerne on February 8, 1977, that the "guerrillas" were replying with violence to the "violence the African population has suffered from Government troops".

The "Rhodesia Herald" reported on February 12 that the Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission had declined to investigate.

On August 9, 1977, a terrorist gang entered St. Paul's Mission, in the Lupane district, and murdered Dr. Johanna Maria Decker, aged 59, of Nurnberg, Germany, and Sister Anna Plonner, aged 53, a South African national who was born in Korten, Austria.


In a statement issued immediately afterwards, the Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, said the Patriotic Front was stepping up terrorist atrocities in order to make an impact on the eve of the London talks between the U. S. Secretary of State, Mr. Cyrus Vance, and the British Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen.

Referring to the murder of the mission doctor and the nun, Mr. Smith said: "This savage murder of two defenceless women who have given their lives in the cause of helping the African people of Rhodesia, is the latest in a long list of barbaric deeds perpetrated in Matabeleland by Russian-armed terrorists of Z.A.P.U. These cold-blooded murderers were acting on the direct-instruction of Joshua Nkomo, joint leader of the Patriotic Front.

"A few days ago the other wing of the Patriotic Front, led by Robert Mugabe, played its part in Mashonaland with the callous, indiscriminate killing of 11 people in the Salisbury bomb outrage.

"There is no doubt that these, and other recent atrocities, are designed to warn the British and Americans that peace through talks is not the Patriotic Front's idea of a solution of Rhodesia's problems. As they have stated so many times, they wish to gain power only through violence.

"It is significant that there has been not one word of condemnation from either the British or American Governments of these foul murders. Their silence can only be interpreted as indicating they condone and, indeed, encourage such deeds in the belief that they will cause the Rhodesian people to surrender.


"Dr. Owen and Mr. Vance are about to have a meeting to discuss the future of Rhodesia, but without any white Rhodesian representation. I hope they will start by searching their consciences, with particular reference to their support of the leaders of the Marxist murderers who have committed these acts of brutal terrorism."

There have been other missionary murders. Less than a month after the St. Paul's massacre, the battered, mutilated body of Father Jose Manuel Rubio Diaz was discovered near a mission station in south-eastern Rhodesia. Father Diaz, who was 58, was born in Spain, and had worked in Rhodesia for 28 years.

The body was found following the discovery of his car, abandoned and with the windscreen shattered.

The fate of a 42-year-old Swiss-born missionary, Father George Joerger, who disappeared more than a year ago, was revealed during the trial of a terrorist, in September.

He said Father Joerger, who belonged to the Order of Bethlehem, and worked at Bondolfi Mission, had been murdered.

A Minister of the Dutch Reformed Church became the fourteenth missionary to be murdered during the terror war when he and his wife died in a terrorist ambush, on October 24.

The Rev. Andries Louw Brand, aged 40, and his wife, Tabina Metje, aged 41, were returning to their home in Que Que after celebrating Communion in the Gokwe area. They are survived by six children.

Mr. Brand, who was born at the Morgenster Mission, south of Fort Victoria, conducted mission work among blacks, and did not have a white parish. The couple had earlier voluntarily decided to "remain true to their missionary calling" despite the Church's offer to recall them to South Africa following previous terrorist attacks.

An editorial in the "Rhodesia Herald" said: "The senseless slaughter of a white missionary and his wife at the weekend has added two more innocent names to the lengthy list of terrorist victims.

"It is a list of infamy and unspeakable bestiality; a list that knows no bounds in terms of race, religion, age and human suffering: a list that must surely fill all civilized peoples with horror and revulsion.

"Yet those responsible for it have been likened in a British Council of Churches report to Christian soldiers. What kind of Christianity is this? And what manner of craven clerics are these who can plead for aid for such monsters?

"Will they spare a thought for the six children of the Rev. Andries Louw Brand and his wife? And will they plead for aid for these orphans of the war? Rhodesians will have little doubt about the answers to these questions."


Mass abductions and the indiscriminate murders of defenceless children form a horrific part of the terrorist campaign of senseless violence. Abduction is the only way in which they can recruit replacements for their heavy losses.

On the evening of January 30, 1977, nine Sundays after the Lupane murders, a group of terrorists entered Manama Mission in the Dibilishaba Tribal Trust Land and stole $13000. They then rounded up the pupils and staff, comprising 230 male pupils and 170 female pupils, five male teachers, a clerk and two nurses, and compelled them to accompany them to Botswana.

Some managed to escape as they were being herded at gunpoint, and 52 returned following pleas by parents who managed to gain access to them. The remainder were hastily flown to Zambia where 15 were later shot for refusing to undergo terrorist training.

The fate of the rest is unknown, but it is likely that many have died. A 16-year-old boy, Biggie Chieza, described the conditions under which recruits exist. He managed to escape at his fourth attempt after being abducted and taken to a base camp in Mozambique.


He said between five and 10 black Rhodesians died each day. "Many of them are dying from disease and from hunger. The conditions there are very poor and the people are fed on small portions of sadza and salted fish. Most of them regret that they went to Mozambique."

The youth was abducted from Mutambara Mission school near Cashel and taken initially to a Frelimo camp at Rotanda. After one night, he was transferred to Dorowe. He said he became thin and ill, and at the time of his escape his body was covered with open sores.

He spent his time in camp building barrack rooms and gardening. He received no military training and the only education was political.

"The terrorist leaders, Rex Nhongo and Josiah Tongogara visited the camp twice. They went around inspecting everything, but they only spoke to the camp commanders. Biggie said he and others were told that after the war was over they would get a lot of money, good houses and cars. "But people, including pregnant women, tried to escape. Some got away but many were shot by Frelimo or terrorists."

After his first attempt he was put in a cell. After his release he made a second bid. Upon his recapture, he was moved to another camp at Chimayo. There he met a relative who had also been abducted. They made their escape together, but the youth had to leave his companion who found he could not travel because of an ulcerated leg.


Similar stories have been related by others who have escaped. Some had been lured into joining the terrorists with promises of higher education, only to find themselves enduring concentration camp conditions, with little food and no hope.

One of the worst individual terrorist atrocities against the young was a murder by a group of more than 20, who bayoneted to death a 6-month old baby girl, Natasha Glenny, on the verandah of her home. She had been left by her parents in the care of a female servant who tried unsuccessfully to pass the child off as her own, by saying she was an albino.

The nightmare of finding the battered body of their daughter was described to Chris Reynolds, of the "Herald", by Michael Glenny, aged 26, and his 22-year-old wife, Marinda. Natasha was their only child.

Said Michael: "She couldn't even talk and they did this to her. I think if I could get my hands on those responsible, I would torture them. Yes, I think I would."

It was Michael who found the child in a pool of blood. "She was lying face down. Her back was a mass of lacerations and her flesh was white and pulpy. Before she was bayoneted she was thrown across the verandah."

Natasha was asleep in her cot when the gang attacked. "There were about 25 of them," said her father. "Our nursemaid, who was in the kitchen, rushed into the bedroom and snatched Natasha from the cot. She strapped her to her back and covered her head with a towel.

"One of the terrorists grabbed her and wanted to know what she had on her back. She said it was her baby. But the terrorist pulled back the towel and saw her white face.

"She yelled out that the baby had been born white, that it was an albino. But the terrorist ripped Natasha from her back and threw her across the verandah. Then she was stabbed. Said Marinda: "They call themselves freedom fighters. I have nothing but contempt for them. Only savages could slaughter an innocent baby.

Michael concluded: "We have experienced a terrible tragedy. But we are not going to give up. We are not going to leave. We shall stay and fight. We owe it to our daughter."

A 12-year-old orphan, Sharon McRoberts, and her grandmother, Mrs Muriel Hyde Hastings, were also murdered by terrorists during an attack on their farm at Shamva. Her grandfather, Mr. Henry Theodopolis James Hastings, aged 67, died from a heart attack after admitting security forces to the house.

On April 9, 1977, terrorists abducted 150 black civilians, many of them teenagers, and forced them at gunpoint to cross the border into Botswana.

Black schooling has become a major casualty of the terrorist war. Three hundred and seventy-eighty primary and 14 secondary schools were closed during 1976 and 1977, the Minister of Education, Mr. Dennis Walker, announced in the House of Assembly, in October.

All the secondary school closures took place in 1977 and the closures had resulted in the loss of 1 965 primary school teaching posts, and 71 998 primary school places; 184 secondary school teaching posts and 3 685 secondary school places.

The Minister said an undetermined number of the pupils had found places in other schools. In order to assist secondary school pupils, the Ministry had permitted enrolment in classes to exceed the normal maximum, subject to the receiving school being able to provide the necessary facilities for tuition and, where applicable, boarding accommodation, without risk to the health of the pupils through overcrowding of hostels.

The disclosure of the figures prompted the "Herald" in an editorial to state: "There could be no better illustration of the appalling sterility of the terrorist war than the figures given in Parliament of the children who are receiving no education. More than 75 000 pupils are affected - in a country which has a proud record of black education.

"What are the terrorists gaining by this? What sort of citizens do they think these frustrated youngsters will make in the Zimbabwe of tomorrow?"

"And this is the type of person the world wants integrated into our security forces.


It is a common misconception that the terrorist war is being fought between the security forces and a unified terrorist force. There are in fact two terrorist factions whose hatred for one another is as deep as their fear of the "common enemy."

The alliance of Joshua Nkomo's Z.A.P.U. party and the Z.A.N.U. party let by Robert Mugabe was a political expedient to give weight to their demands for instant majority rule. It has never been recognized by terrorist military commanders.

Instead, security forces have received reports of bloody clashes between the two factions. One, in the last week of August 1977, occurred in Maranda Tribal Trust Land. An earlier one had led to six terrorists being killed. Tribesmen suspected of being loyal to one faction have been murdered by members of the opposing party.

Part of a unification plan drawn up by the "front line" presidents was that all terrorist recruits should be sent to a camp in southern Tanzania for training. Mugabe already had recruits there, but Nkomo's were being trained in Zambia and Angola.

A report of what happened in the camp was described in the "Zimbabwe Review", published in East Germany. It revealed that former Z.A.N.U. officers and leaders had openly flouted the terms of the unification agreement.

"This was despite repeated protests by Z.A.P.U. to the two host countries, Mozambique and Tanzania. These increased and sharpened daily, resulting in massacres of former Z.A.P.U. cadres by ex-Z.A.N.U. without intervention by the host governments. The worst of these massacres occurred at Morogoro Training camp, in Tanzania."

A decision was taken to disarm all recruits, and top ranking officers were sent to investigate. Before they arrived, a pitched battle broke out at another camp, and two instructors were killed instantly.

The report continued: "Firing by Z.A.N.U. increased in intensity. They used automatic rifles, light machine-guns and hand grenades. Axes were also used. Chinese military experts fired light machine-guns and automatic rifles and set their dogs on the panic-striken former Z.A.P.U. recruits."

The final death toll was never accurately calculated. Seventy were badly wounded and 50 were missing when Tanzanian troops intervened.


Natasha Glenny was only one victim of the terrorist war. The grief of her parents has been matched by the distress of the thousands of others who have lost loved ones. It did not even evoke sympathetic comment from the British Government.

Instead, in the London "Observer" of October 9, 1977, the British Foreign Secretary, Dr. David Owen, wrote: "Violence is the last resort. To use violence where peaceful means are available runs counter to the whole system of values which we are pledged to sustain. But as.long as repressive systems of white minority rule, impervious to peaceful pressures, remain in existence, they will inevitably generate frustrations and a sense of humiliation on such a scale that the black African population will understandably be driven in increasing numbers to violence and the armed struggle.

"We cannot brand them as enemies of democracy and disciples of Moscow because they are fighting for their rights."

While "double standards" appear to be perfectly acceptable in international relations and attitudes in present times it is incredible that the Foreign Secretary is reluctant to condemn the terrorists who carry out the acts outlined in this publication or the leaders they represent.

It is equally astonishing that the British Government sees fit to "understand" and deliberately misinterpret the motives of "freedom fighters" in Rhodesia when the Irish Republican Army is referred to by them as a terrorist organization.

It is hardly surprising that the Prime Minister, Mr. Smith, finds unacceptable a proposal that the terrorists should provide the major portion of the new National Army.

Ministry of Information, January 1978

Back to: Victims of Terrorism in Rhodesia