Militant guerrillas loyal to Nationalist leader, Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday (20 February) are said to have opened fore with mortars on a Rhodesian police and army patrol.
SV & GVs Newsmen and onlookers being heavily searched before entering grounds where conference is to be held (3 shots)
GV Mr. Robert Mugabe, leader of ZANU Party, being seated PAN TO reporters
CU Mr. Mugabe speaking in English (3 shots)
MUGABE: "In all these cases the intention of those who conspired on the bomb strategy was evident. It was clearly to destroy the churches in the name of ZANU, P.F. and arouse hostility and revulsion of the clergy and Christian followers in the country towards my party by providing contrived proof and credence to the false allegation that we are anti-church and anti-religion. However, we are extremely delighted that the evil-doers who are enmeshed that is caught and destroyed in their own devilish...trap. Lieutenant Edward Piringodo and Moyo who died in the Renault sedan mode 12 TL were Selous Scouts. When daily they are carrying out these barbarous acts in his name I think it's high time the Governor disbanded and disowned them completely. Any continued recognition of them to me would be condonation of their acts."
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Background: Militant guerrillas loyal to Nationalist leader, Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday (20 February) are said to have opened fore with mortars on a Rhodesian police and army patrol. According to a British military spokesman the incident took place close to a ceasefire assembly point in remote north-eastern Rhodesia. There were no immediate reports of casualties. At a news conference on Monday (18 February) Mr. Mugabe urged Lord Soames, the British Governor of Rhodesia, to disband and disarm Rhodesia's security force auxiliaries and the highly trained Selous Scouts unit. Two members of the Scouts -- an expert tracking group -- died when a bomb wrecked their car last week (Thursday, 14 February). The same night three other bombs were planted at Salisbury churches.
SYNOPSIS: There were strict security checks when newsmen arrived for the news conference. Earlier that day a bomb partly demolished a building used by several black political parties in the Rhodesian city of Gwelo. Mr. Mugabe, who himself has survived two attacks on his life, told reporters the planted bombs were part of a plot to discredit his Marxist ZANU Party.