In Rhodesia, a bomb blast has cast a shadow over the celebrations following the election of the country's first black Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa.
In Rhodesia, a bomb blast has cast a shadow over the celebrations following the election of the country's first black Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa. The time bomb, which went off in Salisbury's city centre, on Wednesday (25 April), killed one man and injured two others. It was the most serious bomb blast in Salisbury since an explosion in a department store killed eleven people and wounded more than seventy in August, 1977.
SYNOPSIS: As the bomb went off, Bishop Muzorewa's supporters were celebrating his win in the country's first one-man-on elections. Despite the news of the explosion, it was a well disciplined demonstration. About four thousand of the Bishop's followers gathered outside his headquarters outside Salisbury and a parade of buses headed for the home of Rhodesia's Prime Minister Elect.
Nearly two thirds of the electorate voted in Rhodesia's majority rule general election. In an interview with a French newspaper, Bishop Muzorewa said he would strive to achieve equal prosperity among blacks and whites in his country. All Rhodesians -- white or black -- should be treated equally. The Bishop said his government would do everything in its power to halt the exodus of whites from the break-away former colony. "We need them, their knowledge, their technology," he said. "Apart from that they were born here. This is their home."
Bishop Muzorewa didn't mingle with his jubilant supporters. Instead -- surrounded by party officials -- he waved to them from behind the iron gates of his home.
Police said the bomb exploded in a suitcase which had been left behind a carpet store near the city centre. The only person near the scene -- a black man -- was blown to pieces. Several others, some distance away, were cut by flying glass.
Police in Rhodesia have long prided themselves n keeping guerrilla activity in the towns and cities at a low level. Wednesday's blast -- in a mainly black area -- came as an unwelcome reminder that they are not immune to urban terrorism. Robert Mugabe -- a Patriotic Front leader based in Mozambique -- has threatened that his men will take the war into Rhodesia's cities this year. Police officials in Salisbury regard the threat of a major urban guerrilla offensive as a serious one.