A spasm of political violence, spreading from Zimbabwe???s bush country to the capital of Salisbury, is confronting Prime Minister Robert Mugabe with the most serious challenge so far to his control of the newly independent nation.
GV & SV Armoured convoy carrying armed guerrillas to resettlement area, at Chitungwiza, near Salisbury (2 shots)
TRACKING SHOT: Past convoy
SV PAN Guerrillas cheering on trucks TO Crowd as they wait to enter settlement (3 shots)
SV & GV Armed guerrillas waving guns as they pass cheering supporters (5 shots)
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Background: A spasm of political violence, spreading from Zimbabwe???s bush country to the capital of Salisbury, is confronting Prime Minister Robert Mugabe with the most serious challenge so far to his control of the newly independent nation. During the last week of September, the country saw the worst ever outbreak of violence in the troubled Goromonzi district, 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of Salisbury. A white farmer was shot dead and a white woman armed with a shotgun killed an intruder who attacked her isolated homestead. Virtually all clashes reported since Rhodesia attained independence last April have involved the bored and restless nationalist guerrillas who fought the seven-year war against rule by the country's white minority. Mr Mugabe says his newly formed national army is round in up the dissidents responsible for the lawlessness, and at the same time, thousands of guerrillas are being moved to the town of Chitungwiza, on the outskirts of Salisbury.
SYNOPSIS: The first convoy of guerrillas bound for Chitungwiza arrived in Salisbury just as the afternoon rush hour traffic was beginning to build up. As the convoy of 60 trucks wound it sway through the city's white suburbs, the heavily armed guerrillas raised their weapons in victory salutes. They were cheered by Africans but largely ignored by whites, many of whom were seeing their wartime adversaries for the first time. Police requests that the guerrillas be disarmed were rejected by the High Command before the resettlement move began.
The move by these guerrillas is not being met with universal enthusiasm. Many in Salisbury fear that their presence so close to the city will lead to further violence. Some of the white population are not waiting to find out. Official figures show that in August alone, just under two-thousand people left the country through official emigration channels. Hundreds more are leaving each month, without bothering to go through official procedures.
As the guerrillas arrived at Chitungwiza, just 15 miles (25 kilometres) from the centre of Salisbury, a large crowd gathered to cheer them into the fenced compound where they will live until barracks can be built for them.
The guerrillas brandished their weapons and chanted political slogans while sections of the crowd sand revolutionary songs. The first contingent totalled some two-thousand men and by the end of the resettlement operation, there will be something like 17-thousand armed guerrillas at Chitungwiza. Several thousand more will be housed in a similar compound on the outskirts of Bulawayo. The move to the cities has been prompted not only by the growing lawlessness in rural areas where the men have been since the beginning of the year, but also by the approach of the wet season. Authorities fear the rains could inflame, rather than dampen passions in an already delicate situation.