Almost 400 weary black teenage students returned to their homes on Friday (31 March) after being abducted from a Rhodesian mission school by black nationalist guerrillas.
GV AND SV: Children walking along road back into Rhodesia (3 shots)
GV: truck waiting by roadside
SV; children leap from truck.
SV AND CU: students being given sandwiches (3 shots)
SCU: school principal Mr. Khumalo and wife walking along road together.
CU: Khumalo answering questions from newsmen in English. (5 shots)
REPORTER:" Did the guerrillas say why they were taking you away"
KHUMALO: "Yes, they did."
REPORTER: "What did they say?"
KHUMALO: " They said that they wanted to make all the schools close."
REPORTER: "Did they say anything about guerrilla training for the children?"
KHUMALO: " Yes they did. they said that they would .....(indistinct).....give them some training."
REPORTER: "What else did they say about the political motive behind it?"
KHUMABLO: "They said training of schools and training of guerrillas. They didn't say anything after that. Then they come over and they... they did say to the children whoever goes back is likely to be killed."
REPORTER:"They said that if the children returned to Rhodesaia that they would be killed if they were caught the next time?"
KHUMALO: "That is so."
REPORTER: "How did the children react to that threat?"
KHUMALO: "Well they were quite calm. Very calm indeed."
REPORTER: "Do you know how they separated those who wanted to stay from those who wanted to return?"
KHUMALO: "Yes I know because I overheard this. They said: here we don't force anybody. it is entirely your own decision. If you would like to go back to Rhodesia you are free to do so. If you want to stay you must know it is entirely your own decision. Those who want to go stand in one line and those who want to stay should be in another line."
REPORTER: "Why do you suppose so few children decided to stay in Botswana?"
KHUMALO: "Well I think they wanted .....(indistinct)".
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Almost 400 weary black teenage students returned to their homes on Friday (31 March) after being abducted from a Rhodesian mission school by black nationalist guerrillas. The kidnapping was carried out by Mr Joshua Nikomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union and involved 424 children and teachers, who were abducted from the British Methodist mission school at Tegwani on Wednesday (29 March) night and taken across the Rhodesian border into Botswana.
SYNOPSIS: Of the 424 students and teachers taken 395 returned home along the hot, dusty road into Rhodesia. The rest stayed in Botswana with the guerrillas. They had been force-marched along road in the other direction and mission staff said the guerrillas inside Botswana had told them they would be killed if they tried to cross back into Rhodesia. However they did return despite the threats, but now the future of the mission school is in doubt. The children will be returned to their homes until a decision is made. Some of the boys said they had been kicked and beaten by the guerrillas.
The students said they had a hard time and little food, but sandwiches were waiting for them back inside Rhodesia. Many of the youngsters were unwilling to talk to reporters about the abduction, but some told of being beaten by the guerrillas with rifle-butts and kicked for not moving quickly enough. The school principle.
Mr. Khumalo, and his wife were abducted with their students.