Both wings of the black Patriotic Front guerrilla alliance have claimed responsibility for an attack on Rhodesia's largest fuel dept which sparked a massive blaze destroying millions of gallons or fuel.
GV Flames at oil depot.
GV PAN Army vehicle arrives at night with troops.
SV & GV Women fire-fighters in truck. (2 SHOTS)
GVs Blazing fire. (4 SHOTS)
SV Firemen and equipment. (3 SHOTS)
GV Daytime scenes of fire still blazing. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Civil defence people doing security checks on people and vehicles. (2 SHOTS)
LV & GV Smoke rising from refinery. (2 SHOTS)
CU & GV Petrol being poured into car at petrol station. (3 SHOTS)
GV Fire engine in foreground as flames and smoke rise from refinery.
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Background: Both wings of the black Patriotic Front guerrilla alliance have claimed responsibility for an attack on Rhodesia's largest fuel dept which sparked a massive blaze destroying millions of gallons or fuel. Both the Zambia based Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) of Joshua Nkomo and the Mozambique-based Zimbabwe African national Liberation Army (ZANLA) of Robert Mugabe say they were behind the attack.
SYNOPSIS: The blaze started at about nine in the evening on Monday (11 December) and could be seen fifteen miles away. The army was called in during the night to help firemen at the depot, only three kilometres (2 miles) from the capital, Salisbury.
Reports suggest that tracer bullets and rockets were used to ignite a fuel tank. This explosion triggered more blasts and, overnight, another six blew up, followed by six more the next day.
Firefighters were building a temporary dam around the stricken tanks to prevent blazing oil seeping into office buildings on the industrial estate where the fuel depot is situated. By morning, the fire-fighters reported they had the blaze under control.
This attack in Rhodesia's six-year-old guerrilla war could well mean the introduction of martial law to the capital, suggest observers. Rhodesia's countryside has been under martial law for several months. The guerrilla claim their attack killed a number of people, but official Rhodesian sources deny any casualties.
A police cordon was placed around the industrial estate in the morning, and security checks were carried our on workers and vehicles.
This blaze has drained millions of gallons of fuel from Rhodesia's already scarce resources, and will impose a strain on the country's depleted reserves of foreign currency.
Despite a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry that fuel rations will not be cut, many Rhodesians filled up this morning to secure the already scarce petrol for their cars.