The Rhodesian police and air force action against the Tangwena tribesmen, whom they again evicted from what they claim are their ancestral homes in the eastern highlands of Inyanga on Tuesday (July 25) and charged with trespassing on what they call 'white' land, is the latest in a series of government moves against the tribe.
GV PAN hills at disputed Gaeresi area of Inyanga district, Rhodesia
GTV Gaeresi River running through hills PAN TO hills
GV PAN police camp at edge of territory (3 shots)
SV Iangwena tribesmen escorted into court at Inyanga village
CV Sign "District Commissioner of Inyanga" and police outside court during hearing (2 shots)
SV Tribesmen out of court and into police vehicle
Initials OS/144 OS/156
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Background: The Rhodesian police and air force action against the Tangwena tribesmen, whom they again evicted from what they claim are their ancestral homes in the eastern highlands of Inyanga on Tuesday (July 25) and charged with trespassing on what they call 'white' land, is the latest in a series of government moves against the tribe.
The dispute over the land, declared a white area under the Land Tenure Act, eventually resulted in the tribal chief -- Rekayi Tanguena -- being convicted in 1967 of illegally occupying European land. He won an appeal to the courts, but a Presidential proclamation over-ruled the court's decision.
In 1969 police burned the huts of more than 20 families, but the tribe still refused to move and won a damages case against the government.
This decision was subsequently over-ruled by the government, and in 1970 police with dogs burned more huts, destroyed crops, and impounded more than 200 Tangwena cattle -- often the tribal Africans' only form of relative wealth.
A few tribesmen then moved to a new area reserved from them by the government, but the remainder fled into the surrounding hills and reportedly lived off wild fruit and roots while police searched for them.
Last year, they returned to the disputed land to rebuild their huts and re-plant crops.
On Tuesday, police with air force support mounted an eviction operation. Several tribesmen were taken to court and charged with trespass. The disputed area was declared a protected zone, and police refused entry to reporters.
The Government say the area, known as the Caeresi Ranch, is white land under the Act, which divided the country into European and African areas -- half for the quarter of a million whites, and the other half for over five million Africans.
Chief Rekayi, the tribe's leader, is not recognised by the government -- which has, however, offered to give him the small retainer paid to African chiefs if he moves to the new land. But he has refused -- noting that 'most of us were born here and we will die here'. He said the Government did not need the land and the tribe had caused no trouble on it.
On Tuesday, a Government spokesman said: "There are a number of illegal squatters on Gaeresi, which is a European area. Police investigations are currently being undertaken with a view to prosecuting the offenders. Air support is being provided by the Rhodesian Air Force."