Freeman Razemba recently in Beira, Mozambique
EIGHTY-NINE war veterans, youths and church members from Chitungwiza are stranded in Beira after a CMED bus they hired broke down on Tuesday. The delegation left the country on Monday on an educational tour of Chimoio and Nyangau shrines.
It was being led by war veterans chairman for Chitungwiza District Co-ordinating Committee Cde Washington Bangalila.
The bus developed a mechanical fault in Mutare and it was fixed at the CMED depot and the delegation crossed into Mozambique.
Along the way it developed more faults that were attended to by some of the Zanu-PF youths up to Chimoio Shrine.
The group spent the night singing and dancing.
The delegation toured some of the mass graves and was given a brief history by Cde Bangalila, a survivor of the massacres.
“I will not forget what happened here during the attack on 23 November, 1977.
“The attack took five days and gallant sons and daughters who were buried in these mass graves lost their lives,” Cde Bangalila said.
After touring the shrines, the delegation decided to travel to Beira, but the bus developed another mechanical fault.
They later travelled to Beira to tour Nyangau Shrine where the bus broke down again and they failed to repair it.
The team raised CMED officials in Harare who promised to send a mechanic on Wednesday.
By late yesterday it was still not clear if they had been rescued or not due to communication challenges.
Chimoio Liberation Site, in the Manica Province, was the Zanu-PF headquarters during the liberation war and had various camps within.
These camps included: Parirenyatwa camp clinic, Chindunduma school complex, Zvidozvevanhu, a garage (transport section), Mbuya Nehanda for female residents,
Chitepo for intensive political orientation, Percy Ntini rehabilitation centre for those wounded on the war front and Chaminuka for security.
Others were Takawira I for male residents, Takawira II for training, Mudzingadzi for agriculture/production.
Chimoio Camp is situated about 21 kilometres north of the town.
The camp was said to have housed between 9 000 and 11 000 people during the attack on November 23 1977.
Information from Selous Scouts and captured guerillas and subsequent surveillance carried out led to the Rhodesians knowing about the camp.
On November 23, 1977, Chimoio Camp was attacked at around 8am when most inmates were on parade.
The attacking force was made up of eight Hawker Hunters, six Vampire ground attack aircraft, three Canberra bombers, six Dakota troop carrying aircraft, 185 ground troops parachuted and helilanded.
There were also an unknown number of helicopters.
Casualties at Chimoio were mainly at Parirenyatwa, the camp clinic where the sick and wounded were about to be transported to the main hospital in Chimoio Town.
School children were killed on a riverline where they had taken cover while the transport section was totally decimated and paratroopers in stop groups around the perimeter of the camp killed those that were fleeing.
Chimoio had a limited number of trained personnel and the majority of casualties were women and children and the wounded.
Out of about 10 000 people who were within the camp on that fateful morning, half of them died.