• Short Summary

    In Rhodesia, 50 Africans civilians have been killed in a battle between security forces and black nationalist guerrillas.

  • Description

    CU: Rhodesian forces area commander speaking in English.

    SV: patients in hospital (3 shots)

    CU: resident doctor Dr. Richard Lang speaking in English.

    COLONEL: "After the initial burst of fire, the patrol was fired on by other groups of terrorists, and the patrol in turn returned the fire to the positions where they could see the terrorists were firing at them; and in the ensuing cross-fire this figure of thirty, er, fifty were killed and 24 injured."

    REPORTER: "Are you satisfied that your men handled the whole thing correctly?"

    COLONEL: "As well as they possibly could."

    DOCTOR: "Well, they had all waited a long time before they were brought here. They had all had at least twenty hours, and those who were going to die would have died. There were multiple injuries, this is the amazing thing that we....see quite a lot of gunshot wounds off and on, but I've never seen so many patients with so many multiple gunshot wounds. There were some horrific patients that were all-in, three of their four limbs blown off, and there were others with multiple injuries. It was a bad scene as far as they went. The patients didn't have drips or anything when they came in; they just came in, and the ones who hadn't bled to death made it. And so, of the ones who arrived we only lost two: one was a chest and the other was just multiple bullet wounds. There were just too many bullet wounds in her."

    REPORTER: "Anything else, other than bullet-holes?"

    DOCTOR: "Very difficult to tell. We've had a couple of patients who had their faces blown off, and that could have been something, but I would think high-velocity rifle bullets for the majority."

    REPORTER: "Were you able to identify any of the bullets?"

    DOCTOR: "No, they were mainly shrapnel, fragmented, and it was very difficult to tell."

    Reuter's news agency quotes a "political source" as saying that, even though the security forces may not have been responsible for all the deaths, that is where many rural Africans will place the blame. Mr. Joseph Chinamano, spokesman in Rhodesia for Mr Joshua Nkomo, expressed shock at the killings. He said: "Surely there must be a better way to handle these things, than to go around with guns blazing when there are civilians around. This is a terrible thing, and we can expect many more deaths until there is a ceasefire."

    Initials RH/2230

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: In Rhodesia, 50 Africans civilians have been killed in a battle between security forces and black nationalist guerrillas. The incident took place late at night on Monday (14 May) in an unspecified curfew area. An official government communique said a routine patrol came across a guerrilla group addressing a meeting of tribesmen in the curfew area. The security forces opened fire. A Rhodesian army colonel takes up the story.

    SYNOPSIS: The killing of the fifty civilians and the wounding of 24 others came as Rhodesia's new interim government was in the midst of a campaign to persuade the country's six-point-eight million black people to rally behind the internal settlement. Reuter's news agency quotes political sources in Salisbury as expressing fears that the incident could have a damaging effect on Bishop Muzorewe and the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, the two principal black members of the Supreme Executive Council. The injured people were taken to the Fort Victoria hospital for treatment. Some were not badly hurt, but others were in very bad shape, as one of the hospital's resident doctors explained.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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