Liberty Dube and Lloyd Makonya
(Continued from last week)
THE callousness of the Rhodesian forces was aggravated by their special emphasis on attacking soft targets like Chindunduma Base which housed many young children and Parirenyatwa, a hospital base.
No attempt was made to confront the comrades who were in the hard transit locations.
Chindunduma was attacked at a particular unfortunate time when children aged between eight and 14 had just commenced classes.
Every grass thatched classroom was hit by bombs and the escaping children were mowed down by foot soldiers.
The Rhodesians also used napalm oil dropped in frangible tanks or Frantans to inflict further injury on wounded comrades.
Napalm is a thickening gelling agent generally mixed with petroleum or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon.
The attack on Parirenyatwa Hospital Centre was so severe as sick and helpless patients were indiscriminately and systematically massacred.
A mop up operation followed as Rhodesian soldiers entered the wards and sprayed the patients with machine gunfire.
Simultaneously, all the shelters were set ablaze, some by bombs and others by explosive agents.
The charred remains of some patients, cracked skulls and severed body told grisly tales.
The persons killed or injured in these areas were heavily mutilated.
At Chitepo Base, some wounded and captured comrades were gagged, handcuffed and severely tortured before they were massacred.
Others were thrown into drums with boiling water.
Food stores, farming implements, shelters, carpentry and repair sheds and the mechanical and electrical yards were also targeted.
Some of the pigs, poultry and cattle in the Chimoio transit area were also shot and some seed and fertiliser which had been readied for planting were destroyed.
The beans storage facilities burned three weeks after the attack.
Some Selous Scouts who were parachuted into this area poisoned all the tinned food, maize-meal and biscuits in the hope of killing more of the survivors.
All medicines and water sources including a borehole were similarly poisoned.
After the Chimoio massacre, the camp was abandoned by ZANU.
The set back at Chimoio Camp did not mean an end to the quest for the liberation of the country.
The attack on Chimoio inspired the revolutionary spirit within the freedom fighters and motivated them to fight on.
Political orientation intensified and people began to have a deeper sense of why the enemy had to be defeated.
To re-organise after the attack took time.
Some of the comrades moved to Doroei near Gondola which was a refugee camp, and others went for training to various countries and Maputo for other assignments.
By 1979, Chimoio had been reconstituted at a base known as Mavhonde or New Chimoio.
Today, Government is making concerted efforts through the Department of National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe to set the development tone for such liberation war heritage sites so as to preserve their legacy and help present Zimbabwe’s heritage and history in a holistic manner.
The site serves as an educational tool in the instruction of the current and future young generations about the history of the liberation struggle.