Government officials have placed the New Year's day death toll in the Rhodesian bush was at twenty-two people.
SV University of Rhodesia sign beside road ZOOM OUT TO road
SV car parked in entrance to Chambati residence
SV Dr Ariston Chambati speaking in English
CU broken windows and glass on floor (THREE SHOTS)
SV Dr Chambati speaking in English
SV PAN damaged roof of house
SV owner of house, Mr C. Shirley speaking in English to reporter
CU damaged exterior of house
CU bullet holes in window (TWO SHOTS)
SV Mr Shirley speaking to reporter in English
CHAMBATI: "Well, there were between five and seven, if not more. They were armed with rifles. I couldn't describe them because it was dark here. And they asked if I could drive them away, if we could drive away. And I had a discussion at which point I told them that there wasn't enough petrol. We couldn't get anywhere. And I said, you know the best thing is that if I could go in and look for some units. And a little discussion took place. And we argued whether we should walk or let me get some units.
At that time, I simply walked into the door and shut the door, locked the door and went out through the kitchen door. And they broke the window, came in and rushed to the bedroom where they thought I was hiding. And I had run off to the nearest house I could find with the lights on. And I went to Doctor (indistinct) house and made a telephone call to the police."
SHIRLEY: "Well we were sitting in the lounge all having coffee just after arriving back from the airport - meeting a youth lady who has come up to a wedding. And we heard this explosion. I thought it was a TV blowing up, although the TV wasn't on. I went to switch the lights off. We heard the automatic fire. A hand grenade was thrown which landed in the garden. We all landed up in the passage. I got my gun, but decided the best thing to do was to stay with the family. And if the terrorists came to make a kill, I would try and put a few bullets in them. But they didn't come, and that's basically the story."
REPORTER: "Where did they fire from?"
SHIRLEY: "Where did they fire from? Oh about fifty yards from the house, by the pagoda near the swimming pool."
REPORTER: "And any idea how many?"
SHIRLEY: "Well there can only have been perhaps ten, fifteen of them."
REPORTER: "Well, where were you all sitting in the lounge? And the rocket, where did it come through in relation to where you were sitting?
SHIRLEY: "Well, the rocket came through the main glass window and fortunately hit the post, part of the post and exploded. And the main impact was outside. And then the remainder of the rocket, the nosecone went straight through into the kitchen, landed up in the fridge. One of the girls was sitting just underneath the path of the rocket, which, had it been six inches or even an inch lower, cold have done more damage. Bullets came through all over the house. All at waist level, but no damage to person. No-one was hurt."
The 1978 death toll in the Rhodesian war was nearly 5,500 people. Over 12,000 people have been killed in the war since it escalated in 1972. The draft constitution, which would keep the word Rhodesia in the country's official name- Zimbabwe Rhodesia - will be voted on by whites in a referendum on January 30. Under the constitution whites will be a minority in the parliament, but will have the main say for at least ten years in the day-to-day running of the judiciary, civil service, police and armed force.
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Background: Government officials have placed the New Year's day death toll in the Rhodesian bush was at twenty-two people. The latest casualty figures were issued shortly after the transitional government published a draft constitution which would preserve wide powers for Rhodesian whites after the proposed start of black majority rule in April. On Tuesday (2 January), a white family living in the Salisbury suburb of Borrowdale had a lucky escape when black guerrillas launched their third attack within city limits since November. On the same day, armed men tried unsuccessfully to kidnap the black Rhodesian university lecturer, Dr Ariston Chambati, who is a leading member of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, led by Joshua Nkomo.
SYNOPSIS: Dr Chambati is convinced that the men who tried to kidnap him were members of one of the black parties in the transitional government.
The attack on seven whites in a northern Salisbury suburb early in the morning is described by the owner of the house, Mr C. Shirley.