Zimbabwe Freedom Fighters Also Committed Evil Atrocities


The Chimurenga war left too many bloody memories that still haunt many to this day. The sad part was that the villagers were the ones who faced the music as they served as the sea for the Freedom Fighters who deemed themselves the fish. Their side of the story always landed them in danger from either of the fighting sides. In a lot of ways, they remained victims of the war in both sides regardless of what they believed as the true cause to root for. Today, they still remain victims of elections through gruesome punishments in case they choose not to vote for Zanu PF. Their suffering continues even though the regimes have changed.


mouth cut alive...CLICK TO VIEW Chikombe Mazvidza after receiving medical care. "The people who did this are not human beings" he said


Freedom Fighters wanted full commitment and support because they were fighting for the liberation of the black person against the obnoxious colonial system. The Rhodesia Front on the other side was fighting a war to defend the system that had given them sovereignty and control over the native populations. Both sides had a common hunting ground. The villages were the war front where they hunted and killed each other. Cases of deflected blows and stray bullets or fierce retribution after losing some team members to the enemy or as a way to punish the villagers to comply with the demands of either side were common. Many atrocities were committed and yet no side claimed full responsibility. The propaganda machinery made it easier for either side to push blame on the sought enemy yet no one knew exactly who had done what among the vulnerable villagers. The only known evidence was when the villagers were rounded up to witness a retribution exercise.


The RF used advanced military hardware, Dakota planes, land mines, Selous scouts and cavalry teams as they roamed and bombed lots of places and villages to the extent of reaching even Chimoio and Nyadzonya in Mozambique. Of course some have maintained that the Mozambique bombings were an inside job by some selfish Zanu PF leaders who actually disclosed the finer details in exchange for rewards. Those still living have varying facts about this issue and the truth still remains to emerge. The hunt for “terrorists” and innocent villagers in refugee camps was an obsession driven by fear of loss of control over a place that they had come to consider as home. Rhodesians were not willing to surrender their grip on farms, mines and factories. Thousands of lives were therefore lost that way and there was no looking back. Simultaneously, acid or poison could be sprayed on water holes or abandoned clothes and left for desperate or unwary Freedom Fighters to help themselves and they would die from that sulfuric acid eating their flesh.


Above: June 19, 1975 An African female was beaten and burned alive by three terrorists.

On the Freedom Fighters side, their anger was manifested whenever they felt betrayed by the masses. They had to send a clear message through instant but gruesome justice that gave villagers permanent injuries, excruciating pain and disfigurement. Reported sellouts were punished before fellow villagers and there were no consequences. With such gruesome punishments, villagers towed the support line easily as fear and trauma ruled their environments. Of course some used that opportunity to bring their hatred and jealous on fellow villagers whose names they tendered to the freedom Fighters for atrocities to take place to their pleasure and satisfaction. Many incidents were reported of villagers turning against each other and using Freedom Fighters’ anger for justice to be invoked. It became more or less like an eye for an eye as many lived in fear of each other.


In an unprecedented probate on some of the acts of magandanga during the war as committed against their own blood, some former Rhodesian soldiers have disclosed pieces of hair-raising atrocities that are supported by gripping images. On December 3, 1975, a terrorist gang cut off the ears, nose and chin from Chikombe Mazvidza of Kandeya Tribal Trust Land in Mount Darwin. They then forced his wife to cook and eat the flesh. A burning ember was thrust into his mother’s genitals and two other locals were also assaulted.  His five children and 60 villagers were forced to watch. Some were burnt in their mud and dagga huts. Some lost their upper lips, ears or eyes. And at another, Anna, an innocent woman of Mt Darwin district, had her upper lip pulled with a pair of pliers and hacked off with a bayonet by “terrorists”. All the said acts were part of a retribution exercise meant to silence them from coordinating with Rhodesia front Forces.


Upon news reaching the Freedom Fighter that so and so had been seen to be coordinating or selling out their whereabouts to Rhodesia Front forces, the Freedom Fighters would be quick to descend on the named culprits and perform “justice”.


Some participants in the war confirm that such acts happened so many times as the Freedom Fighter were too angry with the situation and wanted the povo to support them.. In light of the seriousness of the war, where cooperation was not forthcoming or where their lives were exposed to danger, they took to their heels, sought cover and then made concerted efforts to return for a purging ceremony. Such a ceremony was also meant to instill fear among the villagers so that they could empathize with the cause of the Freedom Fighters.


While the Freedom Fighters committed such atrocities, those in the Rhodesia front were not saints either. Like they say when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. Where the Rhodesia front Forces felt betrayed by the villagers as they nefariously supported the Freedom Fighters during night times, they also swooped on the same villagers and did their own forms of justice. Some were arrested and detained as some were shot and killed in broad day lights.


The RF side believes that “ZPF was running a “terror” war and the brutality was committed by way of design.  In their previous attempts at incursions in the late 60s and early 70s early reporting by some communal people and farm workers made extended stays in areas too risky.  At that time the RG Security Forces had very high levels of success in their anti-incursion operations. The support of the locals for the insurgents could only be reliably forced by terror tactics – as we all well know the rule of fear is far stronger than the rule of love.  In his own words Mugabe has “degrees in terror” and still relies on this form of support from the general population of Zimbabwe.


I was for a short period involved with “Phyacs operations” (the retention of the “hearts and minds”) of the populous.
There were a few of us from Internal Affairs and single reps from some of the other RG Services.  Our mission was to “educate” some of the operational personnel in the services on the approach to be made to various senior members of the tribal community especially the vakuru of the Tribal Authority and of course the nangas and svikiros (spirit mediums) who held great sway of opinion in all the so called “Shona” areas.  Unfortunately we were all stood-down and the function was passed to members of the military.  One of their brain-waves was to produce the booklet “Anatomy of Terror” which was distributed far and wide.  It was one of the greatest propaganda blunders ever committed in a terrorist war :  all that was achieved was the distribution of the very message Mugabe was trying to disseminate with his terror machine and that was “If you do not support us fully we will kill you and your family in the worst possible manner”.  Information to the SF from that time reduced to a trickle and much of our war effort had to transfer to external operations.


Initially many of the atrocities were committed willy-nilly just to instill fear and trepidation.  Once the fear was established then the commitment of the locals came close behind by forcing their support rather like a schoolboy involves all those around him in having a drag on his cigarette to commit them to the “crime”, get them on sides as an accomplice and prevent their future reporting of the incident. This system still operates well with Mugabe’s members of the “gravy-train” – they all involved in the kleptocracy.  Unfortunately we in the old RG security forces found the situation frustrating and there were many occasions when force was used to gain information when we were sure the individuals concerned knew more than they were relating (“andizivi, andioni”). Of course the natives  were in a very invidious position as they always knew that all they would get from us was some slaps and kicks but this was far preferable to the loss of ears, noses, tongues, eyes or even the entire family.  We simply could not match “fear for fear”.  The Terror War was difficult to repel, a fact worth remembering in all walks of life and one which is best understood by Mugabe himself.


It is probable that well over 20,000 people were killed by the “liberation forces” (ZANLA and ZIPRA) in their establishment of Fear.  Another similar number perished in the Gukuruhundi in Matebeleland (I happened to be there too !!) and of course many more hundreds of thousands have now been forced back to a subsistence form of lively-hood, a state of means that Mugabe maintains they should “be proud of”.  This is highly debatable but I have to say that looking at the consumer society we have here in the industrial World I do wonder whether he is right.”


These are the two sides of the same war. Both sides religiously believed in the cause for their being right yet the villagers remained vulnerable to such atrocities.

  • Bla Miki

    The stupid and sellout writer of this article should have taken a step further by asking Munyaradzi Huni of the Sunday Mail on how to write such stories. On such matters the writer should have put aside his mdc affiliation and held an interview with anyone of the country’s former freedom fighters, he would have been told why, when and how traitors were dealt with. He would have been told how hard it was to walk all the way to Mozambique, receive training, walk back into the bushes of the country heavily ladden with artillary, survive the scare of dangerous wild animals and snakes, survive the threat of hunger and thirst, the prickle of thorns, colds, rain and sleeping without blankets, worse still, fighting and surviving fierce battles by the enemy, and then sold out by the same people you are battling to rescue from bondage. The Rhodesian side of the story though need no further explanation because they simply wanted to eliminate all forward thinking bläcks and leave behind stoogies like Ndabaningi Sithole, Abel Muzorewa, Gordon Chavhunduka and the likes of Morgan Tsvangirai who chickened out to go and join the war.

  • Chegotsi

    This story was written by a notorious special branch terrosrist of the Smith regime. What he refers to as “natives” or villagers where the actual liberation fighters who did not carry any guns ,but protected those few that guns in the bush. To eliminate a sellout or mutengesi was hardly an atrocity as it guaranteed the safety of both the armed liberation fighters and those “villagers” that protected them from rhodesian terrorists- . To burn alive a rhodesian terrorist was not even an atrocity , but a pleasure. So people shld try and avoid selling out. The Wasu people yesterday showed that the fighting spirit is still there and chased away some international terrorist from their territory. You can “necklace” Cde Naked and still go to heaven. It is a Jihad.

  • Jumpdaki

    Yeah Bla, but what about gukuraundi?


    Where was this Dzakutsaku, during the struggle?

  • Jmoyo

    Elim mission massacre.

  • Ndebenkulu

    Bla Miki you are a shame.Plese remove that Zanu veil that is in your eyes.It is very clear that u did not witness the war of liberation.If u did u are very misplaced my friend!

  • http://siyiqaba@gmail.com Comrade Naked

    Chegotsi shut up you where an assistant cooker ka Chiyangwa under selous scouts unit

  • stannie

    bla nika, pliz i think the chimurenga war was fought during the time u were a kid or may u are a born free stupid full of shit in your thick brainless pumpkin head. these so called magandanga were ruthless lot who were taught to kill and nothing else. they were killing as they are doing in this day and time. they are still have the appetite to maim, kill and make people disappear. bla nika and the zanoids lot smell the wind of change which is blowing though out the african continent and appreciate that change.

  • Togarepi pupurai

    To claim that villagers supported freedom fighter because of fear is stupid as it is absurd. If villagers sent their sons and daughters to the liberation war in order to reclaim lost land and freedom how would they fear their fighters? in any war they are traitors and in many instances they exhibit fear but those who didn’t betray the masses’ cause celebrate the beginning of the liberation struggle. I was one of the villagers and I can confirm that we supported Zanla and Zipra as people’s armies to decolonize Zimbabwe. The only 2 possible sources of fear were associated with the ruthlessness bombings (napalm), kidnappings, raping of woman,and call ups by the Rhodesia Front and stray bullets from Dzakutsakus.

  • Ndetshu

    Some atrocities were committed by Rhodesian Sellous Scouts masquerading as freedom fighters.

  • chamu

    Guys – let the truth be told. How many went to become magandanga cause they wer running away from some kind of trouble? Quite a handfull anga ari ma wanted. Cattle rustlers, fraudsters, etc. How many school kids were ” kidnapped” and forced to join the struggle? Ko iwo vana chimbwido vangani vaka mitiswa nana mukoma. Its so sad to think that so many people suffered at the hands of the magandanga and the rhodesian forces and nothing absolutly nothing they have gained from the so called freedom! Open you eyes guys these comrades did not exist in a vaccum. Asi mademob vakadya vega, kwachiyadzwa ngoda vari kudya vega ……..the list is endless. Zimbabeans suffered and most have nothing to show for it!!!!!!!!!!

  • simon gama

    The only freedom fighters that committed attrocities were zanu, poorly armed and ill disciplined, lezo zinj. They still are committing attrocities to this day, these shameless yshonaz.a

  • chamu

    People were forced by both magandanga and masoja, to do what they did not want! Mustinyepere! Damn!

  • http://www.plessey.co.za Tomas Chiangwa

    The story has particules of truth, irrespective of who wrote it. It’s true, many crime were committed during the liberation war.My brother did not go to war just because he loved to liberated the “blacks” but rather he wanted to revenge against someone whom he believed had witched his family. I was too young, I never been in act of anything. But the magandangas the so called freedom fighters they were forcing Vana Mujibha and Chimbwidos who were part of the villagers to go with them in white famers to slaughter cattle. In this case the villagers were then blamed by the Rhodesia front fighters because they were eating the stolen meat and even cook for the terrorists, that is when they were tortured. Some villagers were beaten in Chipinge by the magandangas for failing to attend Phungwe. So the freedom fighters were in most cases criminals even though they were in right course of liberating the country, especial to those who never knew what they fighting for, particularly the school drop outs.

  • Ndetshu

    Tomas, leyo yimisebenzi yabopasi. Hayi thina othebula. Thina sasiphila kahle lezakhamuzi.

  • simon gama

    Zipra got the support of the villagers by educating them about what was being faught for. Zipra forces never went around raping n torturing people. Whenever they killed a sell out it was about rooting out a weed but not instil fear to the masses as a way of gaining support. 20 000 killed by both zanu n Zapu? That’s a lies. We all know who has mastered n perfected the art of killing civilians. Just look at what Renamo did to yo brigade that u sent to Mozambique n u will come to understand that lot are weak military wise, mxim doti zezinja!!!

  • simon gama

    Ndetshu thina sasithi nxa sifika endaweni, sithi badala umumo unjani la? Not burning ppeople with plastics n causing chaos to the people that we want to liberate.

  • http://N/A Hlafunana Magade

    That is why I certainly have no problem with a truth and reconciliation dating whenever as long as there is evidence. From a unit of 7 we lost 5. 2 died painfully immediately in great pain when a local villager gave us poison. I know the place and the people. 3 died slowly from biological chemical put on clothes that a local store keeper had been given by the selous scouts. I know of selous scouts taken from a camp in Mboroma by their Rhodesian handlers in Zambia who later operated against us killing a number of our comrades and villagers but some today are Zanupf supporters calling themselves war veterans. I specifically know one who now lives in England. Yes atrocities were committed. The situation was different from the Gukurahundi massacres. Zanla predominantly Shona operated in Matabelaland South and they never never never committed the atrocities similar to the Gukurahundi cannibals. One can only hope that in our life time we shall see genuine democracy in our land and get to know some truth.

  • Bla Miki

    Some of us when we talk of freedom fighters we will be referring to Zanla and Zipra. We fought and won the war together. Our leaders at the Lancaster House Conference conferred, exchanged notes and agreed before hammering the enemy into submission. This good naturedness by our leaders cannot therefore be betrayed by a few wicked and power hungry individuals such as Ncube, Tsvangirai and a host of commentators above.

  • http://N/A Hlafunana Magade

    I honestly and truly admire all freedom fighters be they Zanla or Zipra. Their sacrifice was not measurable. It is distorting the goals of those great sons of Chaminuka, Lobengula and many of our forfathers that the money lovers of today are doing that puts me off. I belonged to one of the groups and the brutal murders of any freedom fighter tore my heart even if sometimes we querrelled among ourselves. It was and will always be a brotherly fight that needs no foreigner to take advantage of.

  • Hon Kurirakwejongwe

    J Moyo i have bn to Elim in Vumba afta i read the story.Eish the so called lib fighters were heartles.They butchered and raped even infants just coz they wr whites.This was in 1978.

  • Hon Kurirakwejongwe

    The writer should case study the 1978 Elim mission massacre,Now Eagle in Vumba.

  • Shariyah

    Thank you Hlafunana,you sound mature than those two little donkeys,Simon Gambi and Ndetsu.

  • Moyoza

    This writing is absolutely not neccessary. We are complaining about zanu pf liberation war jingles in state media as if the liberation war was fought yesterday. Te hell with zim eye admin.

  • alphabravo moyo

    viva c.de bla miki tel them madzakutsaku ayo haazive chunhu ayo.

  • Wilbert Mukori

    The other aspect that should have been considered before taking up arms was what kind of leaders would the armed struggle throw up? Or more specifically would they be the sort of people we would want to run the country? Well after 33 years of this Mugabe dictatorship, the answer to the last would have to be a big NO!

  • mosstrooper

    I am posting here to learn, and am interested in all intelligent points of view on the Rhodesian use of chemical and biological agents durint the war. I would appreciate hearing from any war veterans dor all sides 2ho can shed light on the use of chemical and/or biological agents/poisons during the war.


  • http://yahoo mbuso

    A point of correction Mr Writer,we never experienced atrocrites in Zipra controlled areas committed by freedom fighters,you can’t compare Zipra and Zanla,because Zanla was both indisciplined and ill equipped to fight RF,they always subjected the populace to Pungwes ,to use them as human shields,the war was won by Zipra

  • Shariyah

    Mbusodog you must know your facts right,ZIPRA planned to win the war by conventional warfare whilst ZANLA with their alleged”indiscipline and ill equipment” were delivering hell to Rhodesians and liberating the country.There were ofcourse a lot of setbacks initially but ZANLAs started prosecuting the war effectively in late 70s.ZIPRA were busy planning to invade conventionally with a handful of armoured cars and 5 Mikhoyan jets(Migs) supplied by the Soviets once RF and ZANLA had exhausted each other.They may have had good equipment but it never saw action and they were not tested as soldiers in battle.Is that disputable?

    75% of ZIPRA cadres only fired assault rifles during training up to now,they were waiting for D-Day which never came to be,10% saw action as dissidents shooting tourists,passenger plane crash survivors and entumbane disturbances.The remaining 15% participated with ANC’s MK as guerillas and we never heard about their achievements in battle,Wankie battle prominently featured MK,maybe you can tell me what ZIPRA achieved save for shooting passenger Viscount planes.

  • pasinejongwe

    Thanks Hon Kurirakwejongwe but my point pertained more to our black sisters who were disembowled by zanlas because whilst preganant they had taken mushonga ye varungu. And to those cio/pisi on this site who want to argue otherwise- I was there at that time.

  • Tokoloshi

    Bla Miki Dog you are a fraud, you had nothing to do with the war!

  • Victims of the situation

    So what nxa. One’s terrorist is another person’s liberator. A terrorist can liberate an oppressed people or can oppress the liberated. Mabhunu aka ma ma chete.
    One of these whites told me He does not trust Africans. From then without asking Y I hate most of them, I was racial blind but I realized my Africanness.

  • Bvunzawabaya

    As a witness to the liberation struggle myself I can not rule out that some atrocities were done but to a very limited extend.I have been in the bush for a total of three years from 1977-1979.I rarely saw atrocities.Yes, I have witnessed captured people from Rhodesian spy agencies and spy ageencies who were either killed or sent to Mozambique for reducationa nd reorientation.The liberation struggle taught me many survival skills and human dignity.The white man bombed and killed a lot of povo using naphlam and even poisoning wells.I dont remember magandanga achiuraya povo kwete.Of course pane wafana wada kuita misikzwa tairanga nekurowa nemubhanda.