Zimbabwe Rhodesian air and ground forces have completed one of their most extensive raids into neighbouring Mozambique, according to Military Headquarters in Salisbury.
Zimbabwe Rhodesian air and ground forces have completed one of their most extensive raids into neighbouring Mozambique, according to Military Headquarters in Salisbury. The forces spent three day deep inside Mozambique.
SYNOPSIS: The Zimbabwe Rhodesians used American-built Bell helicopters which have been obtained for the armed forces despite international trade sanctions. The helicopter born troops attacked the area of Guija, 110 kilometres (68 miles) inside Mozambique. While this attack was made, aircraft bombed installations in Mozambique's agriculturally-rich Limpopo Valley. The Mozambiquan news agency said many civilians died.
Communiques from the Salisbury Military Headquarters said the raid was aimed at preventing future attacks on Zimbabwe Rhodesia by guerrillas based in Mozambique. They claimed that Mozambique's regular forces were providing logistics and protection for Patriotic Front forces under Mr. Robert Mugabe. The raid occurred within days of the conference on Zimbabwe Rhodesia's constitution starting in London, (U.K.).
The Mozambiquan News Agency said the attack was an attempt to divert attention from the importance of the constitutional conference, and the successes of the Patriotic Front Guerrillas. The agency said most targets were civilian installations.
The Mozambiquan agency claimed most damage was done to bridges, houses, agricultural machinery and grain stores. They claimed in return to have inflicted heavy casualties, including killing 30 attackers when two helicopters were shot down. The Salisbury authorities said they had lost just one helicopter with 13 men, and discounted Mozambique's claims that the attacking troops killed many Mozambiquan civilians. They said their troops destroyed more than a dozen camps used by guerrillas and Mozambiquan troops, as well as five major bridges. The Military Headquarters in Salisbury claimed more than 300 guerrillas and troops were killed. Reuters news agency reported that the military authorities in Zimbabwe Rhodesia were at first pleased with the results of the raid, but were later sobered by their losses.They announced losing fifteen men, the highest toll ever announced following the more than thirty attacks on neighbouring states.
Mozambique has not said how many of the attackers it claims to have killed, but said the Zimbabwe Rhodesian forces sustained heavy losses.