• Short Summary

    In Rhodesia a new fighting force has appeared in a number of bush areas. Its?

  • Description

    In Rhodesia a new fighting force has appeared in a number of bush areas. Its members are black and officially known as "Auxiliaries". They have been recruited by the transitional government to promote voting in the forthcoming election. But despite the "Auxiliaries" success in ousting black nationalist guerrillas from some rural areas, many people are worried that the force could develop into a private army which might become a threat to internal security after the April election.

    SYNOPSIS: Many of the "Auxiliaries" carry captured automatic rifles. Their numbers include former black nationalist guerrillas, who switched allegiance when the transitional government promised elections which would ensure black majority rule.

    These "Auxiliaries" at the Manyeni tribal trust land support Bishop Abel Muzorewa's United African National Council. When he spoke at a rally there last November the "Auxiliaries" got an even warmer welcome than the Bishop. Thirty members of the force at Manyeni are said to have deserted from the Patriotic Front. The rest are unemployed youths recruited by the internal black nationalist parties.

    The Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole's Zimbabwe African National Union is the key party for "Auxiliaries" in the Gokwe tribal trust land one hundred and fifty miles (two hundred and fourty kilometres) west of Salisbury. When the guerrillas were in control, they stopped all cattle dipping in the area. Few of the herdsmen dared to resist, because they feared a beating, or even death at the hands of the guerrillas. Many of the animals became infested with ticks and died causing considerable hardship to the herdsmen, who depend on cattle for their livelihood. The transitional government says the resumption of cattle dipping is one of the reasons why the "Auxiliaries" have won over the population in the bush villages.

    The men have now been given uniforms and a spear insignia representing their name-Pfumo Revenhu- 'spear of the people'. This "Auxiliary" had his leg blown off by a land mine.

    The "Auxiliaries" are armed, fed and trained by regular Rhodesian security forces. Present estimates of guerrilla forces inside Rhodesia top eight thousand, and government spokesmen say they aim to match this figure with "Auxiliaries". The transitional government sees the "Auxiliaries" primary function as the education of tribes people on voting in the April election.

    They will also be important in limiting the threatened intimidation by Patriotic Front guerrillas.

    The government is working hard to ensure a high turn-out of first-time black voters to put pressure on the United States and other countries to lift trade sanctions.

    The military admits the "Auxiliary" movement has run into some problems, especially in the Ndebele tribal areas of the South-West. Missionaries and relief workers claim intimidation and harassment in some rural areas had led to people fearing the Auxiliaries more than the black nationalist guerrillas. Some people say the "Auxiliaries" are little more than publicly-financed private armies, whose existence substantially increase the possibility of a full-scale civil war after the April elections.

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