‘We shouldn’t forget our rich liberation history’ . . . as nation marks Chimoio massacre President Mnangagwa

Darlington Musarurwa in MANICA, Mozambique 

ZIMBABWE will never forget that Mozambique looked after its freedom fighters and provided them invaluable support as they fought against the “brutal colonial regime”, especially as the country yesterday commemorated 46 years after the attack on Chimoio Camp, which was ZANLA’s military headquarters.

The early morning raid by Rhodesian security forces, which took place on November 23, 1977, killed thousands of innocent men, women and children.

Designed to coincide with the morning parade, the attack, which was code-named Operation Dingo, was meant to inflict the maximum possible casualties.

“May I also say today is a historic day in that we, Zimbabwe, and our brothers in Mozambique, we commemorate the Chimoio massacre day, where the brutal colonial regime of Ian Smith killed thousands of our people, including women and children, at Chimoio,” said President Mnangagwa in his remarks at the official commissioning of the US$200 million Beira-Machipanda railway line in Manica, Mozambique, yesterday.

“We should never, therefore, both our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, our brothers and sisters in Mozambique, never, never forget our rich liberation history, and that of independence, democracy and freedom for the two countries, which we enjoy today. It came because our people sacrificed their lives.”

Harare and Maputo, he said, will continue to consolidate their friendship, which is steeped in deep historical ties between the two countries.

“We in Zimbabwe will never forget that during our liberation struggle, you our brothers and sisters in Mozambique looked after us as we fought for our liberation, for our democracy, for our independence. And today we continue to consolidate that friendship, and I am here as testimony to that reality.”

President Mnangagwa and President Nyusi interact at the official commissioning of the Beira-Machipanda railway line in Mozambique yesterday.

Chimoio Camp was located some 21km north of the City of Chimoio in Manica province of Mozambique.

It was also located on a farm that used to be owned by a Portuguese farmer called Adriano, who abandoned it when Mozambique gained independence in 1975. 

It was later given to ZANU by the Mozambican government.

The attack by the Rhodesians, who believed that it accommodated cadres who were coming back from training in countries such as Tanzania and China, among others, was meticulously planned from intelligence gathered from Selous Scouts, captured freedom fighters and reconnaissance missions.

It was also calculated to break the back of the liberation movement, which had succeeded in making inroads into Zimbabwe.

At the time ZANLA — the military wing of ZANU — had shifted its base from Zambia.

A shrine has since been constructed at the former camp to commemorate the lives of those who perished during the heinous attack, which was considered to be a turning point of the war, as it strengthened the resolve of the liberation fighters to defeat the white minority government led by Ian Smith.

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