• Short Summary

    The announcement on Monday, January 9, that Rhodesia was closing its border with Zambia reflected growing anxiety at the infiltration of guerrillas into the country.

  • Description

    The announcement on Monday, January 9, that Rhodesia was closing its border with Zambia reflected growing anxiety at the infiltration of guerrillas into the country.

    The move was prompted by the deaths of two policemen in a landmine explosion near the border. The incident followed a spate of guerrilla activity in the area - mostly attacks on lonely farms, and the burning down of African homes.

    Rhodesia has called up several reserve military units to strengthen its anti-guerrilla operations. Observers have suggested that the renewed guerrilla activity in Rhodesia was partly at the encouragement of Frelimo, the underground liberation organisation in Mozambique, and that Frelimo was worried about the help Rhodesian forces were giving Portuguese guerrilla-hunters in Mozambique, and decided that more activity was needed within Rhodesia to keep the Smith government forces busy at home.

    The opposition Rhodesia Party, widely considered Prime Minster Smith's most powerful Parliamentary opponent, has attacked the border closure. It believes Mr. Smith was aiming at the wrong target - Zambia has long supported anti-Rhodesian guerrillas, and the sudden activity was due to increased African support within Rhodesia. Several tribal leaders were recently imprisoned for failing to report guerrilla recruiting activities, and there have been suggestions that Africans in border areas - who have strong ties with people in Zambia, and owe little national allegiance - are now actively aiding infiltrators.

    The border is unlikely to be closed completely, however. "International travellers" will be allowed to cross it, according to government sources, and Rhodesia seems likely to continue supplying grain to Zambia under a previously-agreed commercial arrangement.

    Zambian copper has also been allowed through, but some food supplies and mining equipment can no longer reach Zambia. Much of these barred goods came from South Africa. The decision may hurt some South African industries. A figure of 60 million Rand (30 million pounds sterling) has been mentioned as the sum which South African business may lose if Zambia remains sealed off to traffic via Rhodesia.

    Zambia could suffer economically if the border closure lasts more than two months.

    SYNOPSIS: Zambia has been sealed off from Rhodesia since Monday, when Rhodesian Prime minister Ian Smith ordered the border closed. Only what he described as "genuine international travellers" well be allowed through.

    The move is intended to persuade the Zambian government to discourage guerrilla fighters from entering Rhodesia.

    His action came as Rhodesia mourned two policemen killed when their patrol vehicle can over a mine near the Zambian border. Mr. Smith is convinced the mine was planted by rebels operating from Zambia. The deaths came not long after he'd warned Rhodesians not to under-estimate the security threat to the country.

    Rhodesia tries to keep a close watch on its border area. Reserve units have been called up recently to augment the regular patrols. They've found several places where arms has been hidden for probable use in guerrilla activity. Many supplies had markings indicating they originated in communist countries. Both the weapons and the tactics of the guerrillas have become increasingly sophisticated.

    In neighbouring Mozambique, Portuguese troops have gained plenty of experience in the latest tactics of hit-and-run underground fighting. The mine is a favourite weapon of Frelimo, the Mozambique liberation organisation, and the Portuguese have become skilled in dealing with them.

    The Frelimo organisation is one of the best-organised of Africa's many Liberation and anti-government movements. Many ??? its officers have returned from instruction abroad to train the shadowy fighters in the bush. Now some of the Frelimo tactics are being used in Rhodesia. Some observers believe the upsurge activity there is a reaction against Rhodesian military assistance for ??? Portuguese guerrilla-hunters. Guerrilla units may now be seeking to keep Rhodesian forces occupied in their home territory.

    Meanwhile in Zambia, supplies of grain are still arriving from Rhodesia. There were negotiated following yet another bad harvest. But other supplies are held up, including many goods normally shipped through Rhodesia from South Africa. Expects have estimated that Zambia can endure total isolation for two months before its economy is critically affected.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAENKYZIOU965XMRKMPB4N0T43J
    Media URN:
    VLVAENKYZIOU965XMRKMPB4N0T43J
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    11/01/1973
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:02:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment