INTRODUCTION: All the former guerrilla forces in Zimbabwe have now been disarmed and are being integration into the country's national army.
LV PAN Armed women double onto parade ground
SV Women in civilian clothes watch as women soldiers perform drill exercises (3 shots)
SV Civilians watch PAN TO Army women playing netball (2 shots)
LV & CU Women soldiers playing volleyball
GV Women running to assembly point
SV Women receiving food (3 shots)
SV & CU Women knitting and sewing baby clothes (3 shots)
SV Women in combat uniform marching and singing
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Background: INTRODUCTION: All the former guerrilla forces in Zimbabwe have now been disarmed and are being integration into the country's national army. The highly sensitive disarmament operation ended last month (May 19) when men of Opposition leader Joshua Nkomo's wartime Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) handed over the last of their weapons. The last armed stronghold of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) -- the wartime force of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe -- was also disarmed last month (May 15).
SYNOPSIS: The success of the army's integration programme has followed intensive planning by Zimbabwe's Joint High Command, a combination of Zanla, Zipra and former Rhodesian army officers. There are 674 women at this Zipra camp near Gwelo and they all hope to be enlisted in the national army. The camp, called Assembly Point Sierra, has been in existence for 14 months. All the women trainees come from a base in Zambia.
Sierra is one of two womens' assembly points in Zimbabwe. The other is known as Assembly Point Tango, about 200 kilometres (about 124 miles) to the east and is a camp for female members of Zanla.
The integration of Zanla and Zipra forces into Zimbabwe's army is reported to have been a well organised and untroubled exercise. Any fears that tribal and political rivalries would be rekindled are said to have proved unfounded.
By late this year, Zimbabwe expects to have a 65,000-strong national army, mostly former guerrillas. Between 8,500 and 10,000 Zanla and Zipra personnel have joined the integration exercise designed to mould them and the armies of the former white regime into one national force. About three thousand men and women complete their training and enter the army each month.