In Rhodesia, a form of agreement has been reached between Mr Ian Smith's regime and the leaders of the black African majority.
In Rhodesia, a form of agreement has been reached between Mr Ian Smith's regime and the leaders of the black African majority. But the agreement excludes the leaders of the Patriotic Front, who are now likely to step up their guerrilla war against Rhodesia.
SYNOPSIS: With the signing of the Salisbury agreement, all eyes are now turned to the leaders of the Patriotic Front - Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe. Hitherto, they have been scornful of the negotiations between Smith and the African leaders in Rhodesia. Even given that a formal agreement has been signed in Salisbury, and Rhodesia seems firmly set on the road to black majority rule, the Patriotic Front has already said that the war will go on, and they will not be party to what they regard as an illegal agreement. Thus, any interim government which might take over Rhodesia - Zimbabwe as it will be called - will face daunting problems in making the transition. But not the least, is the costly and debilitating guerilla war across its frontiers, which has already cost hundreds of lives - black and white.
It is a war that has been going on for five years. At first the aim of random strikes into Rhodesia were the economic lifelines - roads and railways such as this, which carry Rhodesia's most important import and export links with South Africa. But more recently, the struggle has claimed and increasing number of civilian victims. This attack on a Jesuit mission near Salisbury last year, in which seven white staff were shot, aroused widespread condemnation. Now, such attacks by guerrillas and by Rhodesian troops striking across the border into Mozambique, are becoming almost commonplace.
Isolated missions and remote farms near the border with Mozambique have been the principal targets - and this is where most of the victims have come from. Nearly a hundred whites have died, but the toll of blacks is put at over 1,400. Furthermore, the guerrillas claim to have killed 225 Rhodesian soldiers during 1977 alone. And another result of the war has been displacement for thousands of African villagers, taken from their border homelands and resettled in what the Rhodesian security forces regard as safer areas. That displacement, whether done with genuine regards for the welfare of blacks or not, has caused further resentment among the Africans...and so the war and its effects go on. Even with internal agreement, there is no end in sight.