Rhodesian security forces have been collaborating with an anti-guerrilla black civilian group in an effort to win the 'hearts and minds' of border villagers.
Rhodesian security forces have been collaborating with an anti-guerrilla black civilian group in an effort to win the 'hearts and minds' of border villagers. There are an officially-admitted one thousand guerrilla infiltrators from across the Mozambique border in Rhodesia.
The exercise is considered important by Rhodesian authorities because without support from villagers, guerrillas would have less chance of succeeding in their campaign to overthrow the white minority regime by force.
The black civilian group, which travels the 'front line' area along the 800-mile (1,280 kilometres) Rhodesia-Mozambique border staging mock attacks on villages to show how the guerrillas operate, is led by a former clergyman, Percy Mudzemorema. He travels with his group and contingent of black Rhodesian soldiers, who take part in the mock attacks which the Security forces always 'win'. The soldiers also act as his official bodyguard -- for the real guerrillas have declared their intention to kill Mr. Mudzemorema as a traitor.
The Mudzemorema group of 'mock guerillas' pretend to give the villagers extremely rough handling in the staged attacks, before being resoundingly 'beaten' by the security forces. The message to the villagers, who are also shown guerrilla weapons and receive instructions on how to deal with them, is simple - guerrillas will treat them badly, and be beaten in the end anyway, so it is not wise to help them.
Rhodesian authorities admitted recently there were about a thousand guerrillas operating inside the country. The previous official admission, a few months ago, put the number at about 80.
Reporters from Rhodesia also say that the security forces' 'kill ratio', which until recently has been one dead Rhodesian soldier for every 12 guerrillas killed, has dropped to one for five.