This blog looks after the debates relating to that period of Zim History where our brothers and sisters in Midlands and Mandebeleland suffered under the yoke of ZANU-PF and its 5th Brigade etc. Refer: Cell: 0791463039 RSA.



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Who do you believe wanted to assassinate the Tsvangirais?
Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF! Other forces..... you can give comment! No-one.... just pure accident!   



“................................The atrocities in Matabeleland started in 1981 and ended 1988. Only the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace raised the issue publicly.

My thesis in this paper is that these extra-judicial activities consumed the greater part of the Zimbabwean Government until 1998 to the exclusion of Economic Planning...............................................”

Prof Ken Mufuka.



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Friday, January 19, 2007

(NB: this is the second posting in connection with "The Gukurahundi Massacres." Page down please to see the first posting.)

GUKURAHUNDI: Moving towards objective analysis
By Masiiwa Shwere. Email:
The topic of “Gukurahundi” is an eternal blot on the ‘conscience’ of the ruling Government of Zimbabwe, as many a commentator has pointed out. More important perhaps are the entailing disaffections between the Shona and Ndebele people resident in and outside Zimbabwe. There is a real danger that any discussion of the issue between members of these 2 dominant tribes of our country may not narrow the divide already between them or facilitate any reconciliation, but may only nurture the already unpleasant inter-tribal context and polarise the camps. For the victim group (Ndebele), one can appreciate how it becomes a matter of “being with us or against us”. People were killed in their thousands; those who survived the ordeal witnessed the killing or torture of their loved ones, or were themselves brutalised. I thus do not expect them to be detached armchair philosophers, ruminating over the issue disinterestedly, and objectively, about the pros and cons of the killings, and of the antecedent killings and disturbances by the “dissidents”. For the majority of the Shona People, it is, or should be easy to understand why they remain(ed) relatively dispassionate about the issue. The majority of the Shona were neither the victims, the perpetrators, nor did they ever actively endorse the killings and torture of the Ndebele people. Now, that seems to border on insensitivity already. Sometimes being dispassionate about things that others are very passionate about seems to suggest that those things are not worthy being passionate about. Suggesting that people need to be dispassionate, and objectively analyse something they already are quite passionate about seems to be an insult altogether. I am not Ndebele, which gives me the (dis)advantage of being dispassionate. At the same time, as far as I am consciously aware of my thoughts, I am not anti-Ndebele. That does not necessarily make me pro-Ndebele though, nor am I principally Shonacentric.

My only source for the present article is an article by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe [CCJPZ] (1999). I have decided to use this article as the basis of my analysis because it is the only major document that has been published to date by a relatively ‘neutral’ source. It is very important to stress that perhaps all writers on the Gukurahundi issue are biased in one way or the other. For the fervently anti-Zanu PF, it is quite a handy issue to use as totally undeniable evidence for its war against democracy, the people etc. Any good argument against the Government is invariably trashed by sweeping generalisations, or clearly wrong assumptions. It is very hard, on the other hand, to come across anyone explaining the position of the Government on this ‘hot potato’ then and now, as it is easily taken as justification for the attacks. Both approaches are unhelpful, from my point of view, and will only continue to nurture the sick environment of fear, resentment and hatred that already define our society with regards to this sad story. Turning to the CCJP article (1999), the outstanding, and important, corollaries, we can draw, and need to appreciate, from it and from history, are as follows:

v Although the liberation struggle was carried out jointly by Zapu (or Zipra) and Zanu (Zanla), there was no “honeymoon” between the 2 indigenous liberation camps. It was fits and starts until Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front relented, with Zanla and Zipra (1) having competing allegiances to China and Russia respectively and thus different war ideologies; (2) being competing forces paradoxically fighting for the same popular support and goal of liberating “common” Zimbabwe; (3) thus, and unfortunately, clashing in actual military combat against each other, both before and especially, after independence, with potentially destabilising effects on the entire country. Therefore, albeit Zanla and Zipra were fighting a common “enemy”, they could easily become enemies themselves if and when the common enemy (the Rhodesians) disappeared from the scene.

v On attaining independence, only one of the two competing “liberation” forces would become the government if they remained independent, and competing. Zanu would become the Government if the “majority rule” followed. Zapu had chance of becoming the Government on certain conditions: (1) if Zipra was militarily more powerful than Zanla, as the Tutsi were in Rwanda, despite being numerically “inferior” (2) if somehow, Zapu had managed to garner enough support, both across Mashonaland, and Matebeleland, despite being primarily Ndebele in its recruitment and membership.

v Upon the surrender of the Rhodesians, it was not immediately obvious which liberation movement should adopt the leading role in matters of demobilisation, and leadership of the country. I think, with the knowledge of hindsight, that separate demobilisation and recruitment into the army, among other benefits, would have been the best alternative. However, as it stood then, and as it was to happen, demobilisation and recruitment into the new army was to be presided over by the new Zanu (PF) Government, with possibility that members of Zanu (PF) and Zanla were to gain certain special advantages over Zapu and Zipra members and affiliates. It was to follow, thus, and almost inevitably, that Zanu, and Zanla members were to draw some advantages, such as reputed posts within the new Army (a quite novel, and exciting thing by the standards of those days), while at least some (including the best of) Zipra guerrillas gained possibly much less than they had bargained for. The demobilised Zanla forces were therefore excited about the new opportunities in independent Zimbabwe, while the Zipra ones still sensed some injustice from the new emerging hegemony of Zanu PF. If they had defeated the Rhodesian Front, they certainly had not defeated the new emerging power of Zanu (PF) threatening their own status as a legitimate liberating movement within their own right.

v As the movements demobilised, and went into respective or combined camps, there was always a looming danger of hostilities. With perhaps some of the Zanla forces not (yet) ready to accept Zipra forces as legitimate partners in the just ended liberation war, and therefore unwilling to share the spoils with them on an equal footing, or some of the Zipra forces resentful about being part of an all-encompassing force with the dominant Zanla that would diminish their reverence and importance, it is not surprising that it is the Matebele assembly points like Ntabazinduna and Entumbane that brewed trouble, led to the death of well more than 300, and formed the basis of the post-independence wars. It was thus the Zipra guerrillas who became the most visible triggers of the said hostilities (since they were invariably in Matebeleland), attacked Zanla (now governmental) and non-Zanla interests (national interests, such as White Farmers) and attracted or were targeted by the New State as anti-progressive forces that had to be eliminated at all costs.

v It should also be noted that although the Matebeleland disturbances and killings were much wider and deeper in scale, Muzorewa’s people also had running battles with the euphoric Zanu (PF) supporters. More crucial, however, were the international threats posed by Apartheid South Africa that could overwhelm the newly-independent state that was run mostly by novices who had no experientially derived competence at dealing with such situations. Taken together, it is understandable how the new Government got into a panicky, “fight- or flight” state.

Total Inventory of the Damage and Threat to the State
1. Assembly Point Battles:
In 1980, there were sporadic outbursts of violence around guerrilla assembly points all over the whole country. The fights recurred in 1983, killing over 300 people.

2. Dissident Threats:
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) documented 298 killings by dissidence from 1980- 1987. The dissidents also reportedly raped 159 women, committed 962 recorded robberies, and abducted 20 over the same period. Included in the total of people killed were 6 foreign tourists and 33 White commercial farmers or their relatives. Thus, the attacks, although principally targeted against the Shona, were also meant to economically destabilise the country.

3. South African Bombing, Super Zapu and the fake CIO:
During the 1980s, South Africa developed a comprehensive policy of destabilising its Black-ruled neighbours. The aim was to prevent these countries from backing the ANC. During the late 1970's and 1980’s, there were numerous ground and/or air operations by the South African forces into Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Angola. South Africa successfully destabilized Mozambique and Angola, with the help of tribal and/or political divisions within those countries. Renamo and Unita became their fronts. Similar incursions were possible in Zimbabwe, through the employment of disgruntled Zapu ex-guerillas. They trained and supported a group of about a hundred dissidents, called Super Zapu, who operated in Matebeleland between 1983 and 1984. In addition, they bombed the Inkomo Barracks in 1981, destroying $50 million worth of ammunition and equipment (by the currency of those days). The following year, they sabotaged Zanu PF headquarters, killing 7 and injuring 124. In July 1982, they bombarded the Thornhill Air Base in Gweru, destroying 13 military aircraft.

4. Discovery of Arms caches:
In 1982, there was the “discovery” of arms caches in Matebeleland. According to the CCJP, South Africa had persuaded some CIO to become double agents, and were telling the Government that Zapu was trying to topple them. The CCJP adds, “some of the buried weapons that were uncovered in the 1980s, and used as evidence against Zapu were actually planted by such agents”.

5. Assassination Attempt on Prime Minister Mugabe’s life:
In 1982, there was an abortive attack on the residence of Mugabe’s residence. “A Zipra connection is established” (CCJP, 1999).

The total magnitude of the threat
To reiterate, the insurgency in Matebeleland led to 710 reported deaths over a period of about 7 years. The dissidents were directly responsible for about 300 of these (reported) deaths. The dissidents were also responsible for about 159 women rapes (reported), 962 robberies (reported) and 20 (reported) abductions. By just looking at these figures, the magnitude of the threat does not seem to be very high. With state resources at its disposal, the Government should have been able to avoid wanton bloodshed in pursuit of presumably a few hundred insurgents. However, add on to this the “discovery” of arms caches and the entailing false intelligence by members of the CIO; the bombings by South African forces and their link to Super Zapu; the ex-guerrillas’ battles in the assembly points and the defections, and you emerge with a much bigger threat. The events were not one off, sporadic attacks, but they recurred quite consistently over almost a decade. When taken together, it should be clear how the above events amalgamated, at least in Government perception, as a much bigger and incessant threat. In particular, the involvement of South Africa, with its all-powerful aircraft and the imagined or real association with dissident activities must have sent alarming signals to the Government, and made them particularly vulnerable, panicky and paranoid. After all, South Africa had already destabilised Mozambique and Angola, which served as “natural experiments” and predictors of what could happen to Zimbabwe if the conditions were right for South Africa. Appreciating the magnitude of the threat amounts to noticing, and appreciating, one of the major antecedents of the period of “Gukurahundi”; it does not necessarily justify what actually transpired, although it can potentially be used as justification, depending on one’s ideology and aims.

Government Reaction
The Government raised the alarm to the highest level. A State of Emergency was renewed every 6 months until 1990. Whether there were specific Government attempts to target the civilians or not, the actions that specifically targeted civilians were the rule, rather than the exception. Mnangagwa, as the Minister of State Security, told a rally in 1983 that the Government would “burn down all the villages infested with dissidents”. It is more important to understand the Government’s reaction as enshrined in its policy however. It is equally important as well to appreciate what triggered the Government into action. It was the kidnapping of foreign tourists that caused the Government to invoke a law used by the Rhodesian Government in 1975, preventing the prosecution of anybody in the security forces no matter what they did, as long as it was to “preserve security” in Zimbabwe. After the murder of 33 White Commercial farmers or their relatives, the Government allowed commercial farmers to re-arm to protect themselves against the dissidents. More dramatic was the training of an extra-military wing, the 5th brigade, by the North Koreans, and their deployment in Matebeleland and the Midlands. If one connects Mnangagwa’s statement that “the Government would burn down all the villages infested with dissidents” with the Governmental Policy that gave immunity to individuals it deemed to be acting for the security interests of the country, one understands how and why thousands of civilians were killed or tortured by the 5th Brigade, the army and the CIO. It seems a basic assumption was held that if killing and putting civilians under duress helped to abate the conflict, sooner rather than later, then it was worthy doing.

The Political Context
At independence, in 1980, Zanu PF won 57 seats out of a 100 and Robert Mugabe assumed leadership of the nation. Twenty seats were reserved for Whites, according to the Lancaster House Constitution. Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu won 20 seats, and Muzorewa’s UANC got 3 seats. For the purposes of smooth transition to independence, there was a general amnesty granted under Lord Soames, the British High Commissioner at the time. The amnesty meant that there were not going to be trials for those who had committed war crimes on both sides of the conflict. Joshua Nkomo was offered the ceremonial post of president, but declined. Nkomo’s cherished ambition of becoming the first Black president of Zimbabwe was dashed by Mugabe’s win and Nkomo made no secret of his bitterness at the defeat (.BBC, Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK). Nkomo was then appointed home affairs minister, along with the incorporation of a few other Zapu cadres into the Government. Canaan Banana accepted the post of president, up to 1987, when Mugabe replaced him as the executive president. After the 1982 “discovery” of weapons supposedly linked to Zapu, Zipra Commanders were arrested, Nkomo was expelled from Government, was subsequently put under house arrest, and fled temporarily to London. In 1988, Prime Minister Mugabe announced an Amnesty for all dissidents. A general ordinance was issued proclaiming that all those who surrendered before 31 May would get a full pardon. One hundred and twenty two dissidents surrendered. In June, the amnesty was extended to include all the members of the security forces who had committed crimes against the people during the “Gukurahundi” period. This marked the end of the killings, but not necessarily of the tribal bitterness and disaffections.

Was government response commensurate to the threat?
I would say personally the Government over-reacted, and set the stage for one of the periods we all will ever live to regret. The killing of thousands of unarmed civilians by the so-called security forces was altogether unwarranted, and will always not only be a cause of tribal bitterness among the victims, but also inform and prop the cause of inter-tribal haters, notably from the victimised group. Ideally, the most commensurate attacks should have been targeted against the dissidents themselves, minus any casualties to the general public. The main problem we have now is that it is far much easier, convenient, and politically correct to make a tribal connection with the killings than with attempts to stem the dissidence. When one focuses on the reported number of dissidents, the over-reaction becomes very clear. When one directs attention at the actual offences committed by the dissidents, however small their number was, the gravity of the issue is clearer, however. To appreciate how the Government weighed the threat against their reaction, one needs to follow the events that immediately preceded Government action, including the deployment of the so-called 5th Brigade. The critical period is from 1980- 1983, although the disturbances and Government action themselves lasted up to 1987:

    • 1980- Before and after independence, there are is violence around guerrilla assembly points all over the whole country.
    • 1980 Nov: A battle between Zipra and Zanla forces at Entumbane.
    • 1981 Feb: Second major outbreak of violence at Entumbane, Ntabazinduna, and Connemara.
    • 1981 Aug: South African attacks at Inkomo, destroying the munitions dump.
    • 1981 Dec: Zanu PF headquarters are attacked by South African agents.
    • An attack on the residence of PM Mugabe.
    • 1982 July: 6 foreign tourists kidnapped and killed. The Government revokes the law that prevents the prosecution of anyone working for the “preservation of security” of the country.
    • 1982 July: The sabotage of Thornhill Airbase by South Africa.
    • 1983 Jan: Government allows (mostly White) farmers to re-arm, after 6 farmers are killed by dissidents. Thirty three White farmers killed by the end of the year. White commercial farmers suffer more casualties than they did during the whole period of the armed struggle.
    • 1983: The 5th Brigade is deployed in Matebeleland North.

The chronicle of events above informs us that the period between 1980 and 1983 was densely littered with disturbing events that naturally elicited a response from the Government. One incident followed the other with sheer rapidity that, without the knowledge of hindsight that we have now, threatened to throw the newly quasi-liberated nation into a state of total chaos. From the above chronicle, I guess it is not very far away from the truth to suppose that Zimbabwe then was in a state of war, although of low intensity. The Government did not only react by deploying the 5th Brigade. Their most extraordinary reaction was granting special immunity to anyone, no matter what they did, as long as they were deemed to be safeguarding the security of the country. Equally extraordinary is the fact that the law came into effect after the kidnapping of foreign tourists by the dissidents. Also out of the ordinary is that the Government allowed mostly White farmers, who had backed the Rhodesian Front during the liberation war, to re-arm. It is thus, important to acknowledge it was attacks on national economic interests (tourists and commercial farming) that necessitated some of the most extraordinary of measure, including granting immunity to would-be killers. It appears that the 5th Brigade itself was always going to be deployed, having been trained in 1980 subsequent to the first disturbances, and in anticipation of further disturbances. Whether or not the would-be 5th Brigade killers would be granted immunity, regardless of whether the dissidents targeted economic interests or not is not obvious, however. What is fairly obvious though is that the Bill encouraged the 5th Brigade, the CIO, and the army to harm people as they pleased. It gave any Shona person who had their own personal vendettas against the Ndebele people to let off the steam.

After assessing all the extraordinary reactions of the Government above, it gives us an idea of how they perceived the threat. To them, it was as big as it could be, and called for measures extraordinary enough to overwhelm it, regardless of the cost in human life. They certainly had the will to solve the problem using general means that would therefore affect the generality of the Ndebele population. The important question to address is whether they had the will and capacity to target the dissidents, without attacks on civilians. Between the two, the will is more of the function of the capacity than the other way round, i.e., having the will but not the capacity does nothing to practically solve the problem. If the Government had the capacity to deal specifically with dissidence, but lacked the will, then they should take all the blame for failing to contain the conflict. With the will made redundant by capacity, only an analysis of the latter is informative.

As common sense would tell us, collection of intelligence about the dissidents and their whereabouts was the main challenge. The CIO should normally fit this role, and use any legitimate methods at their disposal. In so far as we know the operation of intelligence organizations, however, there is usually a very fine line between what is called legitimate and illegitimate. Hunting for armed ex-guerillas who have reverted to guerilla-style attacks on civilians turns the CIO into a quasi-army. Besides, gathering evidence was likely to be deterred by a number of factors. The first is the security of the civilians, which was not guaranteed by either group. Failure on the part of the civilians to give information to Government agents could attract their wrath. On the other hand, civilians could be attacked by the dissidents if they “sold them out” to the CIO. It can be posed that the dissidents expected tribal loyalty, with the result that those who sold out were tortured or killed. Indeed, the CCJP (1999) recorded at least one incident in which the dissidents accused residents of Mtsuli village of being sell-outs. As punishment, they killed 9 people, assaulted 146 and detained 16 and left about people missing. In such circumstances, if the CIO or any other Government security forces were to elicit some information from the civilians, they had no choice but to use some methods of torture. It is only reasonable to suppose so, post hoc. The civilians’ method of protecting themselves involved not antagonizing both the security forces and the dissidents. Thus, literally, they were caught between a rock and a hard place.

The deployment of the 5th Brigade shows the Government was aware of the lack of the CIO’s capacity to deal with the conflict on their own. As argued above, the CIO had to turn into a quasi-army anyway in order to deal with the conflict, which was military in nature. The use of the army, in addition, underscores the Government’s belief that the dissidents had to be overwhelmed by the Government’s much greater capacity. Moreover, it shows that the Government did not believe in the efficacy of the CIO’s more intrusive methods against an enemy that was not only armed, but drew its strength from the fear and/or passive support of its tribal base. The fact that the dissidents did not have “popular” support (CCJP) is made redundant by the fact that the troublemakers were nested within, and were largely operating in an area of, their own tribe. Bin Laden’s ability to elude the technologically endowed American Military is not only due to his intelligence, but may be primarily derive from the fact that those who know where he is are not prepared to sell him out. They do not necessarily need to actively support him. To claim there were no Zapu or Ndebele people whatsoever who supported the dissidents would only amount to total denial. First, the Ndebele civilians could be blamed by the security forces for nurturing the conflict, either indirectly or directly, if they were perceived to be passively “supporting” the dissidents. If the civilians failed to report the presence or activities of the dissidents; failed or refused to provide any information about the activities and whereabouts of the dissidents operating in their neighborhood, that could be taken as passively supporting the dissident cause. This was likely, given the fact that the dissidents were members of families, villages, and the tribe of the civilians. Secondly, the study of “normal” social cognition tells us that at least some people are likely to actively support members of their social group when they engage in conflict with another social group. It is as if noticing and acknowledging the support somehow justifies the mass-murder of Ndebeles. This is wrong, for it does not, and is what has led to the political correctness and fear that is typical of the discussion of the issue, leading inevitably to biased and wrong conclusions.

To claim that the conflict had no tribal base at all is to be delusional as well. Otherwise we ask why the dissidents mainly rose from, and operated in and around Matebeleland. Were they not targeting the Shona civilians who lived in Matebeleland and the Midlands? If Zapu (and Ndebele) ex-guerillas had been delegated by the Government to quash the dissidence, would they have obliged? Doesn’t this explain why the 5th Brigade was mainly Shona in composition, with any Ndebele elements removed prior to its deployment (CCJP)? Does this realization make me tribalistic? Was the Shona composition of the 5th Brigade an endorsement by the Shona tribe of the indiscriminate attacks on the Ndebeles? Are the Shona not blamed though, for passively supporting the Government’s brutality against the Ndebeles? They certainly are! Although it is possible that the conflict was not triggered primarily by tribal concerns, the tribal background correlated closely with group membership of the dissidents, with the geographical location of the disturbances, the composition of the then sitting Government and the membership of the security forces. The Ndebele background of the dissidents meant that if any civilians were to be rightly or wrongly blamed for the conflict, it was going to be the Ndebele. If people were to passively or actively support them, they were likely to be Ndebele. The geographical location of the conflict meant that if any civilians were to be caught in crossfire, they were going to be largely Ndebele. If the Government or the security forces were to err in dealing with the conflict, that was going to smear the whole Shona tribe. The above corollaries serve to highlight the complexity that unfortunately derives from the tribal lines that could be connected to the conflict in one way or the other. But to give the tribal background some ultimately causal role is ultimately wrong. To do so is to claim, rather awkwardly, that if the dissidence had never happened, there was always going to be a tribal war against the Ndebele. Alternatively, and more lightly, this can mean that the attempt to stem the dissidence was only an excuse to massacre the Ndebeles, and that the massacres were pre-determined. It is hard to objectively make that claim, for no attempt has been made to mass-kill any Ndebele people outside the timeframe of the 1980s disturbances. On the other hand, however, it is important to appreciate that it is mostly Ndebele people who were brutalized and /or killed, which does not amount to the above, much broader claim.

Of course, we cannot relish the fact that the conflict ended up being tribal in essence. We should regret it, together with the poison that it was to sow among us. Still, I must emphasize that noticing the tribal elements of the conflict should not be seen as justifying tribal attacks and hatred. Importantly, this does not justify the slaughter of thousands of Ndebele civilians. This was a monumental failure on the Government’s part. Any responsible member of the Government should speak with sincere regret about what happened. Neither should what happened then be taken as an excuse and justification for nursing and spreading tribal hatred. The bitterness is there among some Ndebeles, is understandable, and cannot be wished away. If mostly Shona civilians were massacred by a mostly Ndebele Government, I would be equally bitter. But does that give me the right to preach tribal hatred? To use the tribal bitterness for perennially destructive purposes is not for the benefit of anybody. The so-called Umthwakazi are the case in point. This group of tribalistic malcontents is warping young minds with only self-debilitating ideologies. If the mass killing of Ndebeles was and remains wrong, as most reasonable people would agree, then how and why can the Umthwakazi preach propaganda that can potentially lead to another bout of mass killings?

Anyway, what is most disturbing is that everyone who writes on the issue of Gukurahundi invariably seems to overestimate the number of people killed by Government security forces during Gukurahundi. Intuitively, deliberately understating the number of people who lost their lives is tantamount to devaluing the lives of Ndebele people. It is this kind of dehumanization that helps to entrench suspicion and acrimony. Not underestimating should not mean overestimating, however. Deliberately overestimating the number of people killed is not beneficial, either, unless one has ulterior motives. One such motive stems from a desire to obtain political advantage from the killings, which is a rather selfish way of thinking. A related motive stems from a desire to justify retributional ideologies and attendant tribal warfares. Whatever the motives might be, a separatist Umthwakazi internet site puts the number of people killed at an incredible 40,000, even claiming that the actual number may well be 6 times. It can only shock us that the entirety of the liberation struggle, including the Nyadzonya and Chimoio bombings by military aircraft claimed only about 30,000 Black Zimbabweans, 10,000 less than the Umthwakazi figure. The Umthwakazi upper limit figure of 240,000 figure is even more surprising. The most agreed upon figure, that appears most often in the media, however, is 20, 000 or a less rigid “more than 20,000”. One can only question the authenticity of these figures since the only publication that is available to the public says the confirmed number of dead was 2000, “almost certain dead between 3,000 and 4,000: possible dead could be double this figure or more” (CCJP). The other comprehensive study carried out - the Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry (1984) - has never been made public, which forces us to rely on the CCJP report if we are not to stray too much into speculation and bias. Assuming that the possible dead could be more than 4000, it is astonishing nevertheless that the error of margin is allowed to vary freely between 500%, 1,000% to above 10,000%. What we can deduce is that there is a clear motive to overestimate the number of people killed. Whatever figure is thrown into the public’s view, it seems normal as the majority of the writers and the recipients of the news (both Shona and Ndebele) are anti-Mugabe and anti-Zanu PF anyway. But Mugabe and possibly Zanu (PF) will certainly go one day, but the poisonous tribal ideologies sown among the young generations may never dissipate.

Anyway to his and Nkomo’s credit the 2 gentlemen signed the peace accord that brought peace to our country. If Nkomo forsake his tribal loyalties in doing so, he managed to save a few hundred or thousand lives of his countrymen. If Mugabe has messed up, at least he has managed not to preside over the death of a few hundred or thousand lives. If Mandela is hailed for saving lives, then these 2 gentlemen, for all their shortcomings, were his predecessors.

My thinking tells me that tribal hostilities are not of any use to anybody. Without the ability to translate the disaffections into intertribal aggression, these feelings can only consume the hater. With the capacity to harm others, we can only have wars. Our society unfortunately is not yet ready for the kind of dialogue that other societies that have gone through similar problems have successfully gone through. Covertly attacking each other via internet blogs, forums, and news sites will only help to spiral the hostilities. News reporters, far from doing anything close to “objective analysis” in their anti-Mugabe bandwagon, are busy and unwittingly fuelling the hard feelings. Perhaps it is also important to understand minority versus majority social cognition. While majorities, such as the Shona, are likely to gloss over the pains and concerns of the minorities, the minorities (e.g., Ndebeles) are likely to be hypersensitive about any issues that affect them, leaving no common ground. The media’s role is usually not to narrow the divide, but to polarize the differences. We all have a role to play to ensure we do not create conditions that may result in much more than we ever bargained for. The Government has a role to play, perhaps in compensating the victims, or engaging in projects in Matebeleland that help remove the perception of marginalization. Completing the Zambezi Water Project is a case in point. Extremists like Umthwakazi have no role in the future of Zimbabwe, as history will tell us. I welcome any logical dialogue on this issue, but will not pay attention to any hate-filled insults.

Zimbabwe needs logical debate to march forward, not emoting and hating, and insulting!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"You gonna reap....just what you sow!"

Zimbos at the U.S. "White House."

A minor correction:

The assassination attempt of 18 Dec, 1981 was not at the new ZANU-PF H/Q as stated in the Introduction.

It was at 88 Manica (at the old H/Q).

The Radical Soldier (Rev Mufaro Stig Hove) Cell: 0791463039 RSA.

Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997



When Robert Mugabe assumed office as the first Prime Minister of Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980, he was faced with the task of uniting a country which had been subjected to 90 years of increasingly repressive, racist rule. There had also been over a decade of escalating military activity, which had served not only to accelerate the process of liberating the majority, but also to create some divisions within it. In addition, the new Zimbabwe had a powerful and hostile neighbour, South Africa.

It was obvious that integrating a community that had serious divisions within itself would be no easy task. Mugabe himself had long been an assassination target, and attempts on his life continued. He escaped an attempt on his life near Masvingo during the election campaign. He and others narrowly escaped a "Rhodesian" assassination attempt planned to coincide with Independence Day in 1980. In December 1981 South African agents attempted to kill him by blowing up the new ZANU-PF headquarters, and in July 1982 there was yet another abortive attempt on his life, involving ex-ZIPRA combatants, when shots were fired at his residence in Harare.

In addition, there were sporadic outbreaks of violence emanating from the guerrilla assembly points (APs) countrywide. Such outbreaks began before Independence and continued throughout the early 1980s. This violence was committed by both ZANLA and ZIPRA ex-combatants, sometimes against civilians and quite often against each other: the causes of this were complex.

The net result of the unstable situation was that by early 1982, Zimbabwe had serious security problems in various parts of the country, particularly in the western half. Bands of "dissidents" were killing civilians and destroying property.

The Government responded with a massive security clampdown on Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands. What is apparent in retrospect and will be shown in this report is that there were two overlapping "conflicts" going on in Matabeleland. The first conflict was between the dissidents and Government defence units, which included 4 Brigade, 6 Brigade, the Paratroopers, the CIO and the Police Support Unit. The second conflict involved Government agencies and all those who were thought to support ZAPU. This was carried out mainly against unarmed civilians in those rural areas which traditionally supported ZAPU; it was also at times carried out against ZAPU supporters in urban areas. The Government agencies which were engaged in this second conflict were primarily 5 Brigade, the CIO, PISI and the ZANU-PF Youth Brigades, as shown in this report. These units committed many human rights violations, which compounded the plight of civilians who were once more caught in the middle of a problem not of their own making.

The Government's attitude was that the two conflicts were one and the same, and that to support ZAPU was the same as to support dissidents. Rural civilians, the ZAPU leadership and the dissidents themselves all denied and continue to deny this allegation. Whatever the ultimate truth on that issue, it is indisputable that thousands of unarmed civilians died, were beaten, or suffered loss of property during the 1980s, some at the hands of dissidents and most as a result of the actions of Government agencies.


One of the most painful aspects of the 1980s conflict for its victims is their perception that their plight is unacknowledged. Officially, the State continues to deny any serious culpability for events during those years, and refuses to allow open dialogue on the issue. In effect, there is a significant chunk of Zimbabwean history which is largely unknown, except to those who experienced it at first hand. All Zimbabweans, both present and future, should be allowed access to this history.

Only by fully exploring how the 1980s crisis developed, can future Zimbabweans hope to avoid a repetition of such violence.

It is only once all Zimbabweans have acknowledged this part of their history, that it can be put aside. The belief that truth and reconciliation are not mutually exclusive is the belief of those who have motivated this project. In fact, it is believed that lasting reconciliation is contingent on truth.

Those who would rather that events of the 1980s should remain shrouded in secrecy have claimed that discussing them will "reopen" old wounds. However, it was clear during the interviewing procedure that, for thousands of people, these wounds have never healed: people still suffer today, physically, psychologically and practically as a result of what they experienced in the 1980s. Far from "reopening" old wounds, the victims' being allowed to speak out and having their stories validated by a non-judgmental audience has begun what is hoped will be a healing process, after more than 10 years of people suffering in fear and isolation.

Critics of this project have been quick to point out that in April 1980, Mr Mugabe made a magnanimous speech, in which he "drew a line through the past", and forgave those whites and others who had persecuted the black majority in the country, particularly during 10 years of increasingly bitter war in the 1970s. Why, then, it is asked, does this report seek to hold the very Government, which was so forgiving, accountable for its own shortcomings in the next decade?
It is not the intention of this report that its evidence be used to hold individual human rights violators accountable. The report seeks rather to promote greater openness to certain truths, currently denied, in the belief that this will lead to greater reconciliation of communities and will help victims to rise above their memories of pain and any desires for retribution.

There may be individuals not only among victims, but also among the dissidents and security agencies responsible for violations, who need an atmosphere of truth-telling in order to purge themselves of their memories of events.

It also needs to be pointed out that while the perpetrators of offences in the war for Independence have not been held accountable as individuals, many documents exist, including a substantial body of academic books and memoirs, ensuring that this part of the nation's history is accessible to those who wish to know it. These have been written not only by those who once opposed the colonial order, but also by those who were part of this old colonial order, as well as by international academics. While far from complete in its documentation, an important record of events surrounding the Second Chimurenga has been produced over the years. For example, the names Nyadzonia and Chimoio arouse deep emotions in all Zimbabweans, and not only those who lost loved ones in the brutal raids on these external guerrilla camps. While nobody was ever held accountable for the terrible massacres, Zimbabweans have access to details of these events if they wish to know more.

But many, both nationally and internationally, are unaware that the name "Bhalagwe" arouses similarly deep emotions for people who live in Matabeleland. It is only those in affected areas who attach significance to this name.

That many parties were at least partly culpable in the unfolding of events is clear. These include ZANU-PF, those ex-ZIPRAs and others who became dissidents, those remnants of Rhodesian state agencies which sought to disrupt unity, and South African agents who both actively disseminated misinformation and who also trained and equipped dissidents.

It is the intention of this report to broaden the debate on how these events unfolded, which has so far been restricted to a very small number of academics and human rights activists, and to allow all concerned parties to enter into healthy public debate over issues they dispute, so that a more complete picture of the truth can emerge.

There is a need for a deeper and more lasting reconciliation in Zimbabwe. This is only possible when the magnitude of the happenings in the affected areas is more widely understood by all those concerned. Only when those who inflicted untold hardship are prepared to acknowledge that they did so, can a lasting reconciliation take place between all who live in Zimbabwe. Only then can bitterness and fear finally be eased. Once the fact that thousands suffered atrocities during those years has been acknowledged, once fear has finally receded, then victims will feel able to speak out about their experiences without dreading retribution.

What those we have spoken to in Matabeleland want more than anything else is lasting peace in Zimbabwe.

They do not want a witch hunt, just a chance to be heard.

They have survived two terrible civil wars in as many decades, and they have received no guarantee that it will not happen again. Only one senior minister in the last 13 years has expressed public regret for what happened. In fact, ministers are on public record as saying they will never apologise.

The single exception to this is Minister Mahachi, who said in the Sunday Mail of 6 September 1992 that:

" during that period are regretted and should not be repeated by anybody, any group of people or any institution in this country."

However, if most people do not know in the first instance what it was that happened, and why it happened, how can a repetition be avoided?
Part of the process of psychological healing for any victim of abuse, is being given the opportunity to recount that suffering to a supportive, non-judgmental audience. It is at least partly in recognition of this principle that truth commissions have taken place in other parts of the world in recent years. Those involved with taking testimony for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission have noted:

In many instances the act of telling their stories to a sympathetic statutory body which acknowledges their pain has proved a cathartic one for witnesses. A common thread running through their testimonies is an extraordinary capacity to forgive, if they can only know the truth.

One of the most tragic effects of events in the 1980s is that it served to harden "ethnic" differences in Zimbabwe, resulting in what could be referred to as "quasi-nationalism". Recent events in Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Yugoslavia provide sad testimony to what happens when such conflicts are not satisfactorily resolved. Recent conflicts in all these countries have their roots in previous, unsatisfactorily resolved internal conflicts. While the signing of the agreement of National Unity in 1987 was an important step towards reconciliation, there are many issues that still need to be aired by ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe and taken into account by its national leadership, if we are to prevent a recurrence of violence between future generations of Zimbabweans.
More than a thousand ordinary citizens came forward in the last five years to relate their experiences to the compilers of this report. People often travelled long distances to give evidence, and waited overnight to tell their stories. For many, this was the first time they had been given the opportunity to have their experiences formally recorded. Many wept, or expressed anger, or voiced confusion as to why violence of the 1980s ever took place.

Many expressed pain at the memory of how senior officials had refused to acknowledge events at the time: the disappearances of people were repeatedly denied in the 1980s, and death certificates were denied for corpses who officially had not been murdered. Others related how their pain at the loss of a loved family member was compounded by a death certificate with a fallacious cause of death filled in: for example, one murdered person had "stomach injury" recorded as the cause of death.

All evidence was given entirely voluntarily, and without suggestion of reward or future compensation. The need to document events historically was explained as the primary intention of this report, and the desire to help set the record straight was apparently motivation enough for witnesses.

While those who came forward gave evidence freely, some told of other victims who were still too afraid to tell their stories. That this fear was not unjustifed was borne out in our second case study area, where the CIO made what were perceived as intimidatory appearances at interview sessions and interrogated at least one person who helped the data collection process, and where certain councillors also actively discouraged their ward members from giving statements.

According to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission,enabling the victims to talk freely and not to be dismissed as liars without being given due consideration is an important aspect of "restoring the dignity and honour as well as the good names of victims".

A substantial body of evidence, some published and most previously unpublished, has long been in existence detailing the broader historical events and the abuses suffered by individuals in the 1980s. This report aims to bring together data collected in the 1980s, when the disturbances were taking place, as well as information from interviews conducted in the 1990s.

Claims of casualty numbers have varied dramatically over the last decade, with the then-ZAPU opposition party leader Joshua Nkomo mentioning a figure of 20 000 dead, and other sources putting the figure as low as 700. There is a need to resolve these disparities by methodical investigation, in order to set the historical record straight.

Data sources have been used to reconstruct a chronicle of events and, more importantly, to detail the reported impact of these events on communities and individuals. Sources document atrocities across most of Matabeleland and in parts of the Midlands.

Interviews in 1995/6 were centred on two case study areas, as time and funding did not allow for comprehensive research across all affected areas. The case studies aim to quantify as accurately as possible, within the acknowledged limitations of the data available, the extent of the abuses, and their perpetrators, in the two specified areas between 1982 and 1988. Research in the case study areas was extensive in the first targetted area, and less extensive but nonetheless very revealing in the second targetted area. It has resulted in a much clearer picture of the nature of abuses in these two areas, and in the process much evidence of atrocities in other districts has also been documented.

While the precise number of dead will almost certainly never be known, more accurate estimates are now possible.

Apart from murders, many other atrocities took place in Zimbabwe between 1982 and 1988, such as the destruction of homesteads or even entire villages, mass detentions of civilians, and the physical torture of civilians, including rape and the phenomenon of mass beatings.

The findings in the two case study areas are documented in Part Two. The pattern of abuse in all areas of Zimbabwe as revealed by a variety of sources is also summarised in this section, in the form of tables and graphs. Part Three discusses some of the implications of these findings.

The full scale of the impact of the civil conflict on those who survived it has yet to be forensically established. However, from interviews now on record, it is apparent that those years have left people with a legacy of problems which include physical, psychological and practical difficulties. Some of these negative legacies, as apparent from the data base, are listed below.-

Families were left destitute, without breadwinners and without shelter. -

Many people, possibly thousands, suffered permanent damage to their health as a result of physical torture, inhibiting their ability to seek work, or to maintain their lands and perform daily chores such as carrying water.-

Possibly hundreds of murder victims have never been officially declared dead. The lack of death certificates has resulted in a multitude of practical problems for their children, who battle to receive birth certificates, and for their spouses who, for example, cannot legally inherit savings accounts.
-Others who fled their homes to protect themselves were considered to have deserted their employment without due notice, and forfeited benefits including pensions as a result. -

Many people, possibly thousands, who were either victims of physical torture, or forced to witness it, continue to suffer psychological disorders indicative of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). Such disorders as unexplained anxieties, dizziness, insomnia, hypochondria and a permanent fear and distrust of senior government officials are evident in victims. Typically, such victims pass on their stress to their children and create a heavy extra burden on existing health care structures.

The timing of the report is significant: enough time has now elapsed that many victims have been able to overcome the memories of fear sufficiently to tell their stories. At the same time, to have delayed any longer would have meant increasing difficulties in locating source documents and people. Much of this data has already been lost, destroyed, or thrown out: people who were involved at the time have died, moved away from Zimbabwe, or have begun to forget precise details, such as dates of events. This report attempts to rescue and order a substantial proportion of what information remains, although there are doubtless documents that have not been located.

During the 1980s, the continuing disturbances and the fact that the Emergency Power Regulations were in place, severely limiting freedom of movement, freedom of association and freedom of expression, made the prospect of actively canvassing information from victims not practical. However, in July 1990, the state of emergency was repealed and Emergency Powers were dropped for the first time since 1965. Also in 1990, the Bulawayo Legal Project Centre (BLPC) opened its first paralegal office, in Lupane in Matabeleland North. Almost immediately, reports of practical problems arising from events in the 1980s were brought to the attention of this paralegal office. People who were in need of death certificates for relatives said to have been murdered began to seek help. People wanting to know their rights in terms of claiming damages for losses suffered at the hands of government agencies also began to report their experiences. As other paralegal offices opened in other parts of rural Matabeleland, similar requests and reports began to come in.

It was also apparent that the Government had decided that there would be no compensation given to people who suffered as a result of Government action during the years 1982/88. However, the data base reflecting the present consequences of events in the 1980s continued to grow. The decision to order this data base, first and foremost to establish an accurate historical record, and secondly to suggest ways of helping victims on the strength of it, was made by BLPC in conjunction with CCJP in 1993. The process of establishing funding and personnel, and the devising of suitable interview forms and a computer data base, took some time.

It was in 1995/96 that the archival material was examined in detail and also in 1995/96 that interviewing took place in earnest in the 2 case study areas. The interviews conducted in the 1990s reflect how the years 1982/88 are currently perceived by the more than a thousand people who reported to project personnel. This report is therefore focussed on events of the 1980s both as a history and as a part of the present.
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


THE writing of the report in 1997 was possible only because Zimbabwe was enjoying a period of stability and national unity which did not exist ten years before. The country now known as Zimbabwe has, in the last hundred years, had a history marred by internal conflicts: the current state of peace in the nation is unprecedented. The signing of the Unity Accord in December 1987 brought an end to the disturbances which this report documents. In 1990, the lifting of the Emergency Powers Regulations, which had been in existence since the Rhodesian Government first instituted them in 1965, did away with the Zimbabwe Government's extra legal powers, many of which had allowed for the infringement of basic human rights. Zimbabwe's current human rights record, while still not perfect, is better than it has ever been since Independence in 1980.







The disturbances documented in this report also need to be placed in a historical context. Zimbabwe did not come to Independence easily: the decade which preceded Independence was one which saw the fighting of an increasingly violent civil war, a war which cost many thousands of civilian lives and caused untold hardship and suffering. While the full number of casualties will never be known, it has been estimated that at least 30 000 people died countrywide, although real numbers of dead could be more than double this figure. Most of these casualties were in the north and eastern regions of Zimbabwe, or in external training and refugee camps in Zambia and Mozambique, although there was no region of the country that was not severely affected by the Liberation War.
As in any conflict, damage cannot be measured in deaths alone: tens of thousands of Zimbabweans were displaced from their rural homes in northern and eastern Zimbabwe into "Protected Villages" (PVs), run by the Rhodesian Defence Forces. The relocation of people into these PVs was done in an effort to prevent rural civilians from feeding, and providing intelligence to, the guerrilla armies: conditions were cruel, and led to massive human rights abuses, including wide-spread malnutrition. The PV policy was combined with "Operation Turkey", the code name given to the policy of destroying crops in rural areas in an attempt to cut the guerrillas off from their food supplies. Needless to say, such a policy also impacted adversely on innocent civilians, exacerbating the starvation already being caused by life in the PVs. The placing of people in PVs was a form of state organised violence against civilians: no doubt many, especially children raised in such places, still suffer the mental consequences of this experience.
Thousands of civilians were also detained indefinitely without trial during the 1970s, including many of those at the forefront of the nationalist movements, ZANU and ZAPU. President Robert Mugabe and Vice President Joshua Nkomo were both detained for many years.
Thousands of young men and women who left the country to train as freedom fighters also sacrificed their own opportunities to gain an education, while others ended the war with permanent physical or mental disabilities. While there are legal mechanisms in place through which war veterans can claim help and compensation, not all ex-fighters are aware of this, or know how to take advantage of the law. For many hundreds, possibly thousands, of war veterans and their families, the hardship continues.
It is also acknowledged that since Independence, Matabeleland and the Midlands are not the only parts of the country to have suffered as the result of internal disturbances. In the late 1980s, there were human rights abuses in the eastern districts of the country, as a result of MNR bandit activity. The South African-backed, Mozambique-based MNR bandits were responsible for serious human rights abuses, particularly in Mount Darwin in the north east of Zimbabwe and in Chipinge in the south east, from 1988 onwards. While these abuses involved only small areas of the country, their effects were extremely harsh for those civilians involved. Scores of innocent people in this region were murdered, mutilated, or had to live with daily insecurity as a result of this conflict.
The injustices and suffering caused by ninety years of colonial rule, and in particular by the ten years of civil war that brought Zimbabwe to Independence, have been well documented. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has played an important role in this process. As one of the few independent human rights organisations active in the country, CCJP played an important, politically impartial role in the 1970s: they were able to collect evidence of human rights abuses committed by the Rhodesian Defence Forces, and were able to publicise these abuses internationally. CCJP facilitated the international publication of several reports, including The Man in the Middle (May 1975), and The Civil War in Rhodesia (August 1976), both published by the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR) in England. Since Independence, CCJP archival information has also been used to document the history of the 1970s. In 1992 Reaching for Justice, a history of CCJP was published (Mambo Press), and in the same year a CCJP video entitled Caught in the Crossfire was released: this detailed the plight of rural Zimbabweans in the Liberation War. Apart from CCJP, many other individuals and organisations have also recorded aspects of pre-Independence history. This process of documentation means that a crucial period in Zimbabwean history is on permanent record for the generations yet to come.
The whole southern African region is now enjoying unprecedented peace and stability. The coming of Independence in South Africa drew to a close the colonial history of Africa. It also began a new process of accountability, and highlighted the realisation that true reconciliation between people who have traditionally been opposed, is often best facilitated by honest public acknowledgement of the past. This process need not be vitriolic, but it is important, particularly to victims, to have their suffering publicly acknowledged. While the suffering caused by colonial rule is widely documented and internationally recognised, the suffering in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s is a history that is unknown except to those who experienced it at first hand. It is also apparent that while the signing of the Unity accord in December 1987 was an important step towards national reconciliation in Zimbabwe, there nonetheless remains in rural Matabeleland a deep seated mistrust of the Government, and a fear that events of the 1980s could be repeated in the future.
This report acknowledges the historical context within which events of the 1980s occurred, and does not seek to apportion blame. It seeks merely to break the silence surrounding this phase in the nation's history, by allowing approximately one thousand people who have approached the report compilers in the last year, a chance to tell the stories they want told. It is hoped that greater openness will lead to greater reconciliation. At the same time, the report alone cannot result in reconciliation: it is therefore accompanied by a Project Proposal, which puts forward some concrete suggestions as to how the hardship caused by the 1980s disturbances can now be redressed.

Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


A substantial body of largely unpublished evidence has long been in existence detailing thousands of atrocities perpetrated by both dissidents and the security forces in Matabeleland and the Midlands of Zimbabwe, between Independence in 1980 and the Amnesty in 1988. This report has collated and analysed this evidence, which includes data records that were contemporary to the 1980s, as well as information from interviews conducted during the 1990s.
As well as tabulating available data for all areas, this report also provides a comprehensive outline of abuses within two chosen case study regions of Zimbabwe.







The report also draws attention to the legacy of practical and personal difficulties which continue to affect those who suffered human rights abuses in the 1980s.
Archival material provided evidence that human rights abuses were widespread throughout Matabeleland North and South, and also at times in the Midlands of Zimbabwe. It was decided to canvas actively additional data, but time and funding excluded collection on a national scale. After consideration it was decided to concentrate data collection in two administerial districts only; Tsholotsho/Nyamandlovu in Matabeleland North and Matobo in Matabeleland South.
Data on record made it clear that the two parts of Matabeleland had qualitatively different experiences of the Government action, with Matabeleland North being subjected to a massive 5 Brigade onslaught in 1983, and Matabeleland South experiencing an extremely long and harsh food embargo, together with mass detentions, in 1984. The decision as to which administrative district to target in each province was made partly with practical criteria in mind: the two chosen areas are near to Bulawayo, and readily accessible from it. CCJP also already had a substantial number of interviews from Tsholotsho on their files. The presence of Bhalagwe Camp in the second chosen area, Matobo, was an important selection criterion.
The two areas targeted for the case studies were:
1. TSHOLOTSHO/ NYAMANDLOVU: in the early 1980s, Tsholotsho Communal Land north of Bulawayo, was administered together with the more sparsely populated commercial farmland of Nyamandlovu adjacent to it. (This adjacent commercial farmland has since been incorporated into an administerial district known as Umgusa: the map of Zimbabwe on page designates district boundaries as used in this report, which in a few cases do not coincide with district boundaries recognised in 1996). Atrocities by Government agencies were known to be severe in Tsholotsho in 1983: the adjacent commercial farmland of Nyamandlovu was known to have been hard hit by dissidents. Making Nyamandlovu part of the case study area allowed for the inclusion of data on dissident atrocities in the commercial farming and forestry resettlement areas of Nyamandlovu: there was almost no information on dissidents forthcoming from people based in the Tsholotsho Communal Lands.
2. MATOBO (known as KEZI District prior to the 1980s), a largely communal area south of Bulawayo, where atrocities were known to be severe in 1984. In particular, there was already substantial data on record of detentions, beatings and killings at Bhalagwe Camp, near Maphisa (previously called Antelope).
Further evidence of atrocities in other parts of the country came to light during this process, and tables showing known atrocities in all affected areas can be found immediately following the two main case summaries in Part Two of this report.

Reliable statistics [of human rights abuses] are extremely difficult to come by in Zimbabwe. It is often all but impossible to verify reports of army abuses. The reports one hears in Harare about atrocities committed by dissidents often sound indistinguishable from the reports one hears in Bulawayo about atrocities committed by the security forces; neither side acknowledges any legitimacy in the other's version of events.
This report has sought to overcome the difficulties in collecting data on human rights abuses by relying upon a variety of data sources. The nature and quality of these sources are very varied and, in the case of press reports, at times conflicting, but together the data provide a complex picture of the 1980s conflict, and probably as complete a record as there is now ever likely to be. An outline of main sources follows.
I. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe (CCJP) archival material, collected in the 1980s.
II. i: Bulawayo Legal Project Centre (BLPC) archival material, including records of legal clients.
ii: BLPC current material: current paralegal clients with legal problems arising from the 1980s, and interviews conducted in the case study areas in 1995/96.
III. Human Rights Reports, including:

i) Zimbabwe: Wages of War - A Report on Human Rights, published by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, New York, 1986.(Referred to in this report as LCFHR).
ii) Zimbabwe - A Break With the Past? Human Rights and Political Unity: An Africa Watch Report, Richard Carver, October 1989.
iii) Amnesty International Reports and Memoranda.
iv) CCJP Report on Torture in Zimbabwe, presented to the Zimbawe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), January 1987.
IV. Media reports contemporary to the1980s, both local and international, including newspapers, magazines and video clippings. The most comprehensive source here proved to be The Chronicle, Bulawayo's daily newspaper. As well as detailing much dissident activity, The Chronicle provides useful insight into the "official view" of events, recording the opinions and pronouncements of Government office bearers as events unfolded.
V. Academic research, including most notably:
i) two conference papers written by Jocelyn Alexander and JoAnn McGregor: these are part of a broader collaborative research project undertaken with Terence Ranger, which will cover a wide range of twentieth century history in Matabeleland North.
ii). Richard Werbner, Tears of the Dead: The Social Biography of an African Family, Baobab, Harare, 1992.
VI. Selected interviews with CCJP officials, commercial farmers and others.
VII. Medical and other material evidence: medical records and evidence from 3 sets of exhumed bodies.
The CCJP provided invaluable archival files on atrocities, compiled when the 1980s disturbances were taking place. As data were being collected simultaneously with events occurring, CCJP accounts remain the most accurate and valuable source, particularly in terms of dates: they also capture the horror of those years in a way less contemporary accounts cannot. Priests and doctors were recording events and noting the broader picture as well as the details, such as the movement and numbers of troops, as well as civilian casualties. CCJP files provide a firm framework within which data from other sources has been placed in context.
Strict curfews prevented the movement of all civilians in Northern Matableland during parts of 1982 and in early 1983, and in Southern Matabeleland in early 1984. This meant that resident mission staff were among the few who observed closely and recorded the unfolding of events during these years. They also made strenuous efforts at the time to protect people and to bring an end to the atrocities.
TSHOLOTSHO has three Catholic missions: Pumula Mission in the southwest, Magama Mission in the east, and Gwayi Mission in the north. In addition, there is Regina Mundi Mission, which is on the Tsholotsho-Lupane border, and whose parishioners are all from Tsholotsho, as there is only forestry land on the Lupane side of this border. Reports on events filtered back from all these missions. St Luke's Mission, which is also in neighbouring Lupane, has a hospital, and recorded some Tsholotsho victims among its patients.
MATOBO has two Catholic missions: St Joseph's Mission in the south-west, and Minda Mission in central Matobo. In addition, there are several Catholic schools - Guardian Angel School, St Thomas School and St Mary's School, along the western border of Matobo and Bulilimamangwe. There are also Brunapeg, Embakwe and Empandeni Missions in Bulilimamangwe. Again, mission staff at all these missions monitored events in their regions and kept invaluable records.
Presentation of CCJP data is of various types, and includes the following:
1. Seventeen very detailed statements, sworn and witnessed in front of lawyers, which were prepared for the Government Committee of Inquiry into alleged atrocities by security forces in 1983 and 1984. These are each several pages long and are accompanied by copies of medical records in a few instances. In all instances they give full details of victims, times, perpetrators and places where events occurred. There are also other well-documented and prepared statements by civilians, which were not notarised, as they were not ultimately selected for presentation to the Committee.
2. Detailed hospital records from mission hospitals, recording precise name, age, date of arrival, village of origin and the nature of injuries suffered by hundreds of victims. Injuries include evidence of beatings, bayonetings, burnings and gun shot wounds. There is a long statement of events in early 1983, made by a doctor at St Luke's. In addition there is also a long written statement from a government doctor working at Tsholotsho District Hospital, sent in February 1983 to the CCJP and detailing information given to him by patients, as well as his own observations of events in the village of Tsholotsho itself. There are also details of victims beaten and shot by soldiers from a doctor at Embakwe Mission, in Matabeleland South in 1984.
3. A significant data base, known as "Matabeleland Case Files", listing names and other details of approximately 1000 victims. There are several thick interview files which contain some, but not all, of the source interviews for this data base.
4. Letters written by priests at the various missions, recounting their horror at what they were witnessing and appealing for intervention and help.
5. Many other letters from Catholic priests or parishioners appealing for help in locating missing family members, or detailing other atrocities. Some of these are written by priests resident in Bulawayo or elsewhere, who have had news of events affecting their friends or families in the rural areas of Matabeleland.
6. General reports which were submitted to the Government at various times during 1983 and 1984, giving evidence of human rights violations by both security forces and dissidents, and appealing for a more humane approach to the security problem.
7. Files with lengthy legal documentation concerning specific people detained without trial, including requests for information as to their whereabouts, requests for detention orders to be reviewed, requests for medical treatment for certain detainees. There are also other files on detainees listing page after page of people known to be in detention at Chikurubi, or other centres, at certain points in time.
8. Statements taken by CCJP members based in Bulawayo in the 1980s, made by refugees from the rural areas.
Taken together, the CCJP raw data amount to well over a thousand pages, providing a comprehensive record of what happened in those years.
1. Letters or accounts written when atrocities were ongoing frequently do not name victims or informants, in order to protect them from further harm should the evidence be intercepted. There is one recorded instance of a person being murdered subsequent to making a phone call to Bulawayo reporting atrocities, and other instances in which people were detained and tortured after making phone-calls, and told this was the reason for their detention: concern for the safety of informants was very real. However, it makes it difficult to decide whether events described, perhaps by 3 or 4 different sources in Feb 1983, are all referring to the same set of victims or different ones. For example, there are 4 accounts among CCJP records of 2 pregnant girls being bayonetted to death by 5 Brigade in Tsholotsho in Feb 1983. In all 4 accounts the victims are not named and the exact location is imprecise. This was treated as one case validated from several sources, probably the one given in great detail in BLPC interviews 1146-1168 incl. It is impossible now to try to validate such CCJP accounts independently.
A conservative approach has always been taken when trying to quantify atrocities: it is always assumed accounts overlap unless there is a very good reason for not doing so, such as clear difference in location or timing of the alleged events. For this reason, many brief accounts of atrocities had to be completely disregarded as they lacked the detail to enable their distinction from other atrocities on record.
2. There is often no follow up on file to a letter of inquiry about a "missing person". Many young men in particular fled the country for Botswana or South Africa, or moved into town with relatives, but were too afraid to write and inform their families, so it is possible at least some "missing" persons turned up, perhaps even years later. Many may have turned up in detention centres and been released, or may have joined a gang of dissidents, but there is no way of knowing from available evidence.
Again, a conservative approach has been taken, so that people are not presumed missing unless the report of their disappearance is substantiated by other evidence suggesting they remained missing. Numbers of actual missing may therefore be higher than numbers given in the case studies.
3. Information on those in detention is incomplete. Typically, all one can say is that a person with a certain name was in a certain jail during a certain month. Where that person was originally detained, how long he had already been in detention or remained afterwards in detention, and who originally detained him, are details that are usually not given. For example, there is a large file on Chikurubi detainees from 1985, merely listing names of those in Chikurubi at the time.
Some people were in detention for 3 or 4 years, and others for a few weeks. Many were tortured. Certainly, the vast majority of those detained never made an official report of their detention and release to an independent body such as the CCJP: figures of those in and out of detention between 1982 and 1988 run to thousands, according to some sources. "Detention" is therefore not a uniform experience with the same implications for every detainee, and the actualities of every individual case, or real numbers of detainees, will remain speculative.
4. The "Matabeleland Case Files" had some short-comings: many names were ultimately discarded as being accompanied by too little information to make them useful. In some cases, information consisted of a name only, with no clear indication of alleged offence against that person, or district or perpetrator. Other entries contained some of the relevant information, but not enough for this project. Entries had to be accompanied by details of at least offence and year to be entered into the HR Data Base. At the same time, many hundreds of entries contained full details, and 431 victims were added to the HR Data Base from the Matabeleland Case Files.
LEGAL CASES: The BLPC original data base consisted of approximately 100 legal cases. The bulk of these cases involved representation of people by lawyers working for private law firms, who made their data available to BLPC. Most clients were people who had been detained under the Emergency Powers legislation. Several involved "missing persons".
PARALEGAL CASES: Approximately another 100 cases, predominantly deaths, were brought to the attention of the BLPC by their paralegals who, from the time paralegal offices began opening in rural Matabeleland in 1990, started receiving requests from clients for help in obtaining death and birth certificates. These cases involved people from all districts in Matabeleland.
INTERVIEWS: CCJP personnel had already collected many interviews from Tsholotsho residents in 1993/94, and this data had been incorporated straight into the BLPC Data Base. This base was extensively increased by further interviews in 1995/96, using the combined resources of CCJP and LRF.
1. TSHOLOTSHO - data was collected in Tsholotsho on a ward by ward basis. Tsholotsho is divided into 16 administrative wards, and all were visited in the course of 1995. Twelve visits were made, each lasting two days and taking in one or two wards. In most cases only one person was available to record the interviews, although on a few trips, a second interviewer was able to dramatically increase the number of cases processed in the short time available. Interviews were conducted in Ndebele, and written up simultaneously in English. Arrangements were made in advance with the ward councillors, who were asked to inform the inhabitants of their ward that the interviewer would be attending a certain central point in the ward on a certain day. Councillors and people giving evidence were told that the interviewer wished to collect data relating to what happened in the 1980s, to document any injuries or losses suffered by people during those years, whether at the hands of security forces or dissidents.
All evidence was given entirely voluntarily, and without suggestion of reward or promise of future compensation. Speaking about those years was visibly traumatic for many of its victims. While those who came gave evidence freely, some told of other victims who were still too afraid to come forward and tell their stories. A number of key witnesses made appointments to speak to the researcher and then felt they could not do so, and stated that it was fear of possible harm to themselves that had made them reconsider.
An examination of the data base also makes it apparent that while some victims are reportedly too afraid to speak out, there are others who have now told their story to various different bodies in the last 13 years. The same interviewee names and details of events are, in a few dozen cases, on file in CCJP archives, on BLPC paralegal files, recorded in interviews conducted by CCJP personnel in the early 1990s and/or recorded in interviews in 1995/96.
In other instances, many different interviewees recount the same incidents, naming a constant list of victims, particularly in incidents involving substantial numbers of deaths, such as hut burnings. These collaborating accounts span more than a decade and are often collected from widely distanced parts of the country.
The number of people who turned up to give evidence varied from ward to ward: in certain wards, particular councillors were inefficient about informing residents about the impending visit in good time. In one ward of Northern Tsholotsho, virtually no information was forthcoming on the first visit, and this appeared to be owing to lack of information given to residents. In 1996, the interviewer conducted a final series of visits to all the wards to identify some of the people who had been unable to give evidence the previous year. This brief trip resulted in a further 160 named victims, and once again, the small area in northern Tsholotsho produced very little data. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that 5 Brigade missed this area in their initial sweep through Tsholotsho, as the reported cases only refer to 5 Brigade passing through the area in pursuit of dissidents in August 1983.
However, data collection in Tsholotsho remains far from complete: those who gave evidence in the final round of sessions in 1996 spoke of yet others who had not come forward. It was also noteworthy that out of all the testimonies collected on this last round, fewer than a dozen of the named victims were already on record.
A total of 910 named victims in Tsholotsho was collected through these interviews, many of whom suffered more than one human rights violation. The interview data also indicated huge numbers of unnamed victims. A more detailed discussion of this can be found in "Methodology" (see section 4 of this chapter), and in the case studies themselves. While the data collection process was far from exhaustive, it helped provide a clearer picture of the scale and nature of the violations of human rights in the 1980s.
MATOBO - the process of data collection here followed a similar pattern to that used in Tsholotsho. However, time ran out before interviewing had been carried out in all wards. Only 10 weeks were devoted to data collection in Matobo, with most of this time being devoted to publicising the project and setting up sessions. The Matobo Case Study is therefore more of an extended pilot study than a complete record of events in all areas. Interviewing was limited to 9 one day sessions at 6 different venues. Local councillors were not always supportive of the exercise, and in some cases actively undermined it, ordering people not to come forward. The CIO also put in what was perceived by the interviewers to be an intimidatory appearance at some sessions. In spite of this, a total of 350 named victims were identified, and thousands of others were implied by witnesses.
1. Inadequate interviews: of the interviews made by CCJP personnel in Tsholotsho in 1993, approximately 50 left serious gaps in their accounts. Interviewees assumed local knowledge of places, which were therefore not always named. Interviewees would also be primarily concerned with their own experience, and so fail to provide general details of events on a certain day. For example, an interview might read:

"They came and took everyone in the line to the school. They beat us and then they shot people dead, including my brother, named XX."
Such information produces more questions than answers, and only one named victim. Fortunately, these interviews all referred to events in the Pumula Mission area, an area which was well covered by other data sources, in particular File H. 40 names from BLPC sources coincided with more comprehensive accounts of events in File H, and many other names coincided with events in villages documented by CCJP. Cross referencing of these multiple data sources allowed for a clear picture of events in the case study areas.
A revised interview form devised by BLPC and used thereafter by CCJP personnel, provided more comprehensive data. This form required precise details of the perpetrator, including clothing, weapons etc, and precise details of where the alleged incidents took place and who else was involved or witnessed events, and caused a dramatic improvement in the quality of information collected. A further handful of interviewees nonetheless were unable to give adequate details, usually because they were now very old and forgetful, and in a very few other cases because interviewees were mentally confused: in these cases the interviewer always noted his assessment of the interviewee. For example, one old man whose child went missing in 1983 was only able to keep repeating: "I want my son."
2. The Time Lapse: The BLPC interviews were conducted a full 12 years after the bulk of atrocities occurred in early 1983. While people interviewed were very clear as to the nature of their loss or injury, other details were forgotten. A person might know that on a certain day, his entire homestead was burnt down, or that his son was killed, and remember the perpetrators clearly, but not know whether this event happened in February or March, or even what year it happened. While dates have been recorded as given, there is every likelihood that some are inaccurate. Fortunately, data collected closer to events (such as CCJP files) have frequently cross-referenced with data collected in 1995/96, and has helped clarify the timing of certain events.
3. Rape: this remains dramatically under-reported. While CCJP reports - and The Chronicle - referred to widespread rape at the time, people are not willing, 12 years later, to report it. This is understandable and reflects a general reluctance of women to report rape under any circumstances. Many victims will now be married with families and will have put the incident behind them: to probe too deeply would be counter-productive. Reading between the lines, some interviews pointed to rape having occurred, but when interviewees were asked directly by the interviewer if rape took place, this was denied. The following extract is one such instance:

"The 5 Brigade came after dark when we were sleeping. They forced their way into the house and asked if we had any daughters. When we said our daughters were only young and were sleeping, they went to the bedroom, and took our 2 daughters aged 12 and 14 to the forest, where they beat them for half an hour, then brought them home...."
This interview was coded in the HR Data Base as a beating, not a rape, in accordance with the interviewees' assessment of the event.
In Matobo, men referred to widespread rape, especially in Bhalagwe, although the number of women admitting to rape remained far smaller than the men's accounts suggested.
4. False Information: This of course cannot be entirely ruled out, but it seems improbable that many people would be motivated to bear false witness at this stage. People do not easily invent dead relatives, and were not led to believe they stood to benefit by doing so: interviewers were careful to point out that the data collection process was for the historical record only, and not for purposes of individual compensation.
There are often more than 30 interviews testifying to events in a small area, and on occasions, some of these reports are made many miles away from the concerned village, by somebody who has been resettled or married away from that village in the last decade. It seems almost impossible for such witnesses to have colluded, so many years later and at comparatively short notice. There is also the obvious distress - and fear - that many people show in recounting these times, indicative of real, as opposed to invented, suffering.
In addition recent interviews have often served to confirm events on record in CCJP files since the 1980s. People giving witness also provided full personal details, so knew they were not making statements anonymously. Some interviewees even submitted death certificates or medical records to the interviewer for photocopying and returning.
5. Dissidents: Information on dissident atrocities was barely reported in Tsholotsho. Yet other sources indicate that dissidents were indeed a menace in the area. In particular, dissidents coerced food from villagers, and also committed rape. For the reasons described above, rape was under reported: furthermore, 10 years after the event, people may not feel it is worth specifically reporting occasions on which they were coerced into killing chickens in order to cook for and feed dissidents. The degree of sympathy for dissidents during those years and the role this might play in under-reporting, is discussed at greater length under "The Dissident Problem" in Part One, III: on the whole, there was apparently little sympathy for dissidents.
Independent research in adjacent districts of Northern Matabeleland suggest dissidents did not commonly murder villagers, unless they were considered sell-outs, were ZANU-PF officials, or had informed on dissident movements. In Lupane, for instance, independent researchers estimated a minimum of 750 deaths during the 1980s, of which only 25 were thought to have been committed by dissidents: of these 25, some were considered to have been committed by Government agencies in disguise.
In Tsholotsho, among an estimated 1000 dead, a total of 18 murders by dissidents were reported to interviewers. In addition, 21 deaths were inflicted by dissidents in the commercial farming area of Nyamandlovu adjacent to Tsholotsho. There were, however, many other references to army members disguising themselves as dissidents and committing crimes. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the war for Independence, when the Rhodesian Selous Scouts used to dress and pose as members of the guerilla forces.
While it was not the primary intention of this report to collect data on events relating to the 1970s war of liberation, some information on people who went missing during the late 1970s was reported both to paralegals and to those interviewing specifically for this report. A total of 23 such reports was made involving people who left the country for guerrilla training and never returned. The relatives of such "missing persons" are eligible for compensation under the War Victims Compensation Act (see final section of this report for more details), and these reports were accordingly dealt with by paralegals.
In total, BLPC data amounted to more than 5 000 pages of raw information.
1. Lawyers Committee For Human Rights: Zimbabwe: Wages of War, New York, 1986.
The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCFHR) has served as a public interest law centre since 1978. The committee works to promote international human rights and refugee law and legal procedures in the United States and abroad. Their Zimbabwean report was compiled after two visits to Zimbabwe in 1985 and 1986, during which committee members interviewed a wide range of Zimbabweans, including a large number of Government officials. Wherever possible, information given in interviews was independently checked and verified. The final report was written in May 1986.
This report provides a well-documented account of the conflict in Zimbabwe during the years following Independence. Its findings coincide to a useful degree with those of the current report. In addition, it provides an overview of various aspects of those years which it has not been possible for this project to research independently, and which would now be difficult to research, a decade after the events. For example, the timing and magnitude of various mass detentions and events in the Midlands, in particular in 1985, were well covered by LCFHR. Their scholarship is thorough and their estimates conservative: this is now apparent in the light of the evidence used for the present report, which indicates far larger numbers of dead and injured people and destroyed homesteads in the case study areas than LCFHR suggested. This makes the consideration of LCFHR estimates in non-case study areas seem reasonable.
The main shortcoming of the LCFHR report is the fact it was written in 1986: the disturbances continued for a full two years after its publication, until the Amnesty in 1988. This means potential key interviewees were in detention, or were hesitant to come forward at the time: the committee therefore had to rely on Government versions of figures, for example of damage caused by dissidents, there being no other data source. It also means there is no information in the report on events during the last two years of the disturbances, including the second Treason Trial in 1986 and the wave of detentions that accompanied this.
2.Richard Carver, Zimbabwe: A Break With the Past? Human Rights and Political Unity:an Africa Watch Report, October, 1989:
3. Richard Carver, Zimbabwe: Drawing a Line Through the Past, Amnesty International, June 1992:
4. CCJP Confidential Report on Torture in Zimbabwe, January 1987.
5.Memorandum to the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Amnesty International, May 1986.
All the above human rights reports contributed both to the data base and to the overall historical record of events in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. They added a limited but well authenticated number of named torture victims to the HR Data Base, and also provided names of prisons where torture and other human rights violations took place. Carver's reports also gave a useful insight into the human rights violations in Zimbabwe as being a partial consequence of Rhodesian personnel having been retained in government agencies after Independence.
This report dealt with The Chronicle as a separate entity, with a separate data base of recorded victims and perpetrators. The picture resulting from this can be seen in Part Two, III and IV.
The Chronicle remains one of the primary sources of dissident atrocities during the 1980s. There was without any doubt a serious dissident problem at the time, although it is also now clear that there were several separate groups of "bandits", with varying motivations. [For a more detailed discussion of dissidents, see Part One, III].
A total of 562 offences, committed between June 1982 and March 1988 and involving mainly dissidents but also some Government agencies, were identified from approximately 1500 media reports extracted from The Chronicle. Those media reports which did not refer to offences contained a record of public statements by Government officials and running details on various trials of dissidents, politicians and government agents.
The Chronicle records many attacks by dissidents on civilians, tourists, Government construction projects, and Government resettlement programmes. There were also many robberies and rapes perpetrated by dissidents. However, certain aspects of The Chronicle's reporting suggested it was better kept as a separate entity: in particular, it was difficult to cross-reference the incidents it reports with other data sources.
1. Peasant victims are seldom named, but tend to be referred to as a number of victims:
eg. "5 peasant farmers in Tsholotsho were killed by dissidents since the beginning of the month." As names are not given, nor precise villages, it is impossible to cross-reference these sorts of statements with, for example, BLPC interviews or CCJP data.
2. The perpetrator is almost invariably given as "dissidents" or "bandits", with very few acknowledgements of atrocities by security forces. It is only in instances where individual members of the security forces were prosecuted, which were rare, that the newspaper reported such atrocities. Most references to security force atrocities take the form of vociferous denials.
3. When acknowledged, deaths of civilians at the hands of security forces are at times referred to as being "deaths in crossfire", implying the unintentional killing of innocents where dissidents were the target. This is reminiscent of the statements made by security force headquarters during the 1970s, where civilian deaths were invariably accounted for in this way. Of the approximately 3500 named victims on file from other sources, there are in fact only 7 interviews which refer to 5 people killed and 2 homesteads destroyed in genuine cross-fire.
4. Detainees were named only if they were prominent members of society, or white. Similarly, white murder victims were invariably named.
5. The political nature of the disturbances is very clear from The Chronicle reports. Speeches made by Government office bearers and quoted in the press, make it apparent that it was PF-ZAPU that the ruling party sought to destroy, as well as the handful of dissidents operating at the time. This issue of these two overlapping conflicts has been referred to above, and is further explored in the Historical Overview following: in general, there are many statements referring to supporters of PF-ZAPU and supporters of dissidents as being one and the same menace, deserving of one and the same fate - "to die or go to prison", as Minister Enos Nkala, put it. The LCFHR also makes a strong case for the perception of the problems as being primarily political.
6. The Chronicle lists atrocities in 2 ways.
i) SPECIFIC REPORTS: there are weekly or monthly news reports, detailing incidents during these short time-spans. These could be considered "Specific Reports", as there is often some accompanying detail as to location and events, such as precise date and value of property stolen or destroyed from a particular store or mine. In articles listing "bandit" or "dissident" activities, large and small incidents are often given almost equal coverage.
ii) GENERAL REPORTS: The second listing of atrocities occurs in reports of speeches made in Parliament, stating general totals of atrocities, usually for the previous six months. These were read out as evidence for the need to continue the state of emergency, which had to be renewed by Parliament every six months.
It is very noticeable that the numbers of atrocities announced in Parliament is always significantly higher than the sum of the Specific Reports for the same time-span [see Part VII, comparative Tables III and V page ***]. Particularly noteworthy here is the disparity for "murders" reported in 1986. "Specific Reports" record only 9 murders by dissidents in that year, while the "General Report" for 1986 refers to 116 civilian deaths. A further confusing factor, when Government statistics are considered, is the phenomenon of Government agencies committing crimes "disguised" as dissidents (see below). As all official information and sources for Government figures on dissident atrocities were state controlled, it is impossible to resolve these discrepancies now.
7. Incidents which occur in very different parts of the country are not always clearly distinguished from each other, but may be listed together in one article. In fact, there were atrocities being committed by the Mozambique-based MNR in northern and eastern Zimbabwe during the 1980s and an analysis of Specific Reports shows that 10% of atrocities were not committed in Matabeleland or the Midlands.
It is not always clear to a casual reader which events occurred where, and whether ZIPRA sympathetic or Renamo (MNR) dissidents, or ordinary criminals were responsible. This type of reporting seemed to confuse the foreign press at times: for example, in the Sunday Times of London, 6 March 1983, there is a report called "Timetable of a Massacre". In it, the murder of a white farmer in Chinhoyi, the raiding of an armoury in Mutare, and the murder of three British tourists in Nyanga are included by this foreign journalist in a list of "dissident" atrocities which he represented as giving some justification to the Government's decision to send 5 Brigade into Matabeleland. All the above events actually took place in northern and eastern Zimbabwe, and in fact, the murder of the three British tourists strongly implicated 5 Brigade itself, which was training in Nyanga at the time.
8. Once The Chronicle reports had been collated for all issues between June 1982 and March 1988, with victims' names (where possible), dates and perpetrators extracted, these were cross referred with names collated from other sources into the Human Rights Data Base. The Chronicle Specific Report data amounted to 562 entries, and other sources amounted to 3 534 entries. It was discovered that fewer than 40 names could be cross-referenced. [If time and money allowed, no doubt many more cases could be verified: the 40 coinciding cases are merely those that overlapped without every newspaper reference being actively pursued.]
Of the names and incidents that could be cross-referred, 21 involved murders by dissidents in the commercial farming area of Nyamandlovu. Here all data sources agreed the perpetrators were dissidents in every case. Approximately 10 other cross-references involved the detentions of prominent ZAPU leaders, some of whom were in detention for many years. Here all sources agreed on obvious aspects of the detentions, such as who detained the men and when, although the sources may have disagreed on other aspects, such as allegations of torture of victims in detention.
In the remaining 7 incidents, which included a bus burning, the murders of 3 chiefs in Matabeleland, a shoot-out at a rural shopping centre in Inyathi, and the murders of health clinic staff in a car ambush in Nkayi, there were glaring disparities between eye-witness accounts given to independent sources, and the official version of events as represented in The Chronicle. In every one of these cases, The Chronicle attributes events to dissidents, but eyewitnesses put forward convincing arguments that the perpetrators were in fact government agencies.
Usual arguments for concluding that Government forces were the perpetrators include:
i) the inability of perpetrators to speak Ndebele fluently (all dissidents were, by both the dissidents' and the Government's own definition, Ndebele speakers).
ii) the fact that victims were often known to be hostile to the Government or have other political significance. For example, the Inyathi shopping centre shoot-out involved a prominent opposition ZAPU party member. While he in fact survived, seven others died, including several from the party member's family.
iii) the police and CIO either did nothing to prevent events taking place even if they were on the scene of the crime, or showed no interest in solving the crimes, even when perpetrators were positively identified to them by witnesses.
iv) the perpetrator was personally recognised as a specific member of a Government agency, known to the witness due to prior contact. On occasions, for example, members of 5 Brigade would parade as dissidents, then appear as 5 Brigade the next day, and punish villagers for having failed to report their own "disguised" presence the previous day.
However, as previously mentioned, most of The Chronicle reports did not specifically name victims. If the reports which specify location of atrocity are totalled for the first case study area, The Chronicle attributes 50 murders to dissidents in Nyamandlovu and Tsholotsho as a whole, including murders on commercial farms. This is fairly similar to the total of 39 murders arrived at via the HR Data Base. However, as most of The Chronicle's victims in Tsholotsho are unnamed, specific cross-referring of victims is not possible.
Reports in The Chronicle do not always indicate where murders took place, and the official view was certainly that Tsholotsho was a hot bed of dissident activity, which does not correlate well with the mere 14 murders in Tsholotsho that The Chronicle specifically identifies. The impossibility of reconciling such disparities at this stage is a major reason for keeping The Chronicle data separate: the two sets of data results are presented in parallel in Part Two, III, and readers of the report must draw their own conclusions. While dissidents are seldom regarded as perpetrators of crimes by villagers interviewed, The Chronicle almost never acknowledges atrocities by the army.
In summary, it seems fair to say that while there is certainly much substance in The Chronicle's portrayal of the "dissident menace", there are also contradictions and apparent inaccuracies within its reports, which justify maintaining its data in a separate base.
There is very little published academic research dealing with the history of events in Zimbabwe in the 1980s. Most historical research still seems to be concentrated on the less politically contentious task of establishing a more complete picture of the War of Liberation and the colonial years that preceded the war. However, there are a few key documents on the 1980s which have provided invaluable background for this report.
1. Richard Werbner, Tears of the Dead: The Social Biography of an African Family, Baobab, Harare, 1992. This anthropological work provides a comprehensive history of one extended family, based on interviews conducted in 1960/61 and further interviews in 1989. The "family", which consists of almost 500 people in all, is primarily located in Matabeleland South, in an area immediately adjacent to the second Case Study Area. This document therefore provided an invaluable insight into how the arrival of 5 Brigade was perceived by those in the Bango chiefdom in 1984.
2. Key research is currently being conducted into events in Lupane and Nkayi. This research is part of a broader research project in which Jocelyn Alexander, JoAnn McGregor and Terence Ranger will document the social history of this region for the last one hundred years. Events of the 1980s are therefore a small aspect of their research, but it has produced two papers of particular interest. These are:
i)Jocelyn Alexander, Dissident Perspectives on Zimbabwe's Civil War, Seminar Paper, St Antony's College, Oxford, 1996.
ii)Jocelyn Alexander and JoAnn McGregor, Democracy, Development and Political Conflict: Rural Institutions in Matabeleland North After Independence, presented at the International Conference on the Historical Dimensions of Democracy and Human Rights in Zimbabwe, Harare, September 1996.
This research is based largely on first hand interviews with civilians, including those who were dissidents in the 1980s, and has been of key importance in reconstructing the history of those years.
3. Various other academic documents have contributed to the writing of the Historical Overview in this this report, including:
i)D. Martin and P. Johnson, The Struggle for Zimbabwe, ZPH, Harare, 1981
ii)D. Martin and P. Johnson, (Eds), Destructive Engagement: Southern Africa at War, ZPH, Harare, 1986.
iii)N Bhebe and T Ranger, (Eds), Society (Vol 1) and Soldiers (Vol 2) in Zimbabwe's Liberation War, UZP, Harare, 1995
iv)J Hanlon, Beggar Your Neighbours: Apartheid Power in Southern Africa, Indiana University Press, 1986.
v)K Yapp, Voices From the Conflict: Perceptions on Violence, Ethnicity, and the Disruption of National Unity, Paper from The Britain Zimbabwe Research Day, St Antony's College, Oxford University, 8 June 1996.
Other written sources were used for very specific information, for example in the chapters on "Legal Damages" and "Implications of Organised Violence": these references are cited in the appropriate chapters.
A few selected, in-depth, interviews were conducted in 1995/96 by the research coordinator, to answer specific questions which needed clarification after other data had been analysed. In particular, commercial farmers were approached, as it was hoped their evidence could shed some light on dissident activities in the case study areas. Remarkably little evidence of dissident presence or activities was apparent from other data sources, yet there were, without question, dissidents committing atrocities during the 1980s. Farmers were in fact able to confirm dissident atrocities in the commercial farming areas.
A few interviews were also conducted with CCJP officials to clarify aspects of troop movements, and some gaps in the chronicle of events. These interviews were for general background purposes.
Interviews were also conducted in Johannesburg in September 1996, with a few individuals who it was hoped might know details of the extent of South Africa's involvement in destabilising Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. These included two journalists, and two ANC officials, one of whom works for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To date the South African role in Zimbabwean events still remains largely shrouded in mystery, although some new details are gradually coming to light. Hopefully more details will surface as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission continues.

As with the BLPC interview data, the time lapse has taken its toll on what people can now remember of events. The interviewer was, on occasion, more in touch with those events, having better cause to be so, than those who were more involved at the time. People also destroyed key documents, having felt such documents were endangering their personal safety during the years when house searches and detentions were commonplace. Other documents have been destroyed more recently, in the belief that they were no longer of interest to anyone.
These shortcomings notwithstanding, personal interviews with people with a "larger view" of events proved very enlightening.
Project personnel established that corroborating evidence for claims of epidemic violence in 1983/84, now made by over a thousand victims, exists in bulk in some places: some rural hospitals have, on their admission records, listings of hundreds of civilians admitted to their wards during the 1980s, suffering from beatings, bayonetings, gun shot wounds, and burns. Some of these records have already been referred to under CCJP data above. Hospitals where such records are known still to exist include not only the Catholic mission hospitals but also other mission hospitals.
The Government hospitals in Bulawayo and rural Matabeleland and the Midlands are also known to have admitted such patients, some of whom were referred to these better equipped hospitals, such as Mpilo in Bulawayo, by mission doctors unable adequately to treat seriously ill patients. Doctors who were employed in Government hospitals during the 1980s have independently confirmed this. The orthopaedic surgeon who was at Mpilo in the 1980s has confirmed that from mid-1982 onwards, he saw patients suffering from gun shot wounds. The 1982 patients were army personnel and "dissidents" allegedly wounded in shoot-outs. The latter were kept under armed guard in the wards. Then in early 1983 this same surgeon became alarmed at the sudden influx to his wards of gun shot wound and assault cases affecting civilians: at the request of colleagues, in March 1983 he compiled a list of current patients including their names, injuries and treatments and submitted it to the Minister of Health. These included gun shot victims, and patients so severely beaten by soldiers that some later died of renal failure. He also took photographs of patients and submitted a set to the Minister, who insisted that the photographic negatives be surrendered too. A duplicate set of prints had been made by the surgeon, and these are still on file in the Nederlands, as is a complete duplicate set of these medical records.
There are a few individual cases well substantiated by medical records, notably victims whose cases were prepared for the Committee of Inquiry by CCJP in 1984.
Apart from these cases, there are currently on project files only a handful of medical records substantiating claims made by interviewees, although many other victims claimed to have such records, but did not bring them to the interviewing venue. In other cases, victims brought records with them, but there were no photocopying facilities in the rural areas where interviewing took place, and interviewers, having no medical background themselves, were not in a position to note relevant details from such records. They were also hesitant to take such records away with them, as the logistics of returning them to remote rural dwellers were daunting: in any case, such records were in some cases needed on a current basis, by people paying regular visits to clinics.
In many other cases, victims did not still have medical records, or had never had them, having been too afraid to seek medical attention at the time.
There were also very few post mortem or death certificates issued for the dead which acknowledged violent causes of death, although a handful of death certificates acknowledging violent deaths are on project files.
There has been to date no large-scale, co-ordinated exhumation of the bodies of those persons whom others claim to have been murdered, in order to conclude independently their cause of death. However, bodies were exhumed from mine shafts in the Midlands and Matabeleland South in the 1990s, with coins in their pockets dating their violent deaths to the 1980s: bodies exhumed at Cyrene Mission in 1984 showed clear evidence of recent gunshot wounds. There is thus a handful of cases which have forensic post mortem evidence to substantiate the types of atrocities claimed by many hundreds of people.
Other material evidence is the existence of many mass grave sites, throughout the curfew areas of 1983/84. Many such sites were indicated in the interviews in the two case study areas, and were also brought to the attention of report personnel by those doing independent research in Matabeleland North. A few such sites were actually visited by project personnel, to confirm their location. People in both Matabeleland North and South also refer to the way in which bodies were thrown down mine shafts by Government agencies, and the findings in the two mines mentioned above point to the probable truth of this claim, and also to the possiblity of many other shafts which still contain bodies not yet exhumed.
People who had homesteads burnt down have also often not rebuilt on the identical foundations to the missing huts: the floors and foundations of such destroyed huts are recognisable in the case study areas.
The lack of specialised examination of such material corroboration of claimed abuses is a shortcoming readily admitted to by this report, which operated under severe funding and personnel constraints. It would have been unethical for personnel involved in this report to have tried to conduct forensic investigations, and to have thus tampered with potential evidence: this report seeks merely to bring to the attention of properly authorised and qualified personnel, the existence of material evidence which could be used to corroborate or contradict the report's claims, if the State so decided.
Similarly, claims of psychological disturbances still experienced by victims of the 1980s upheavals has to remain inferential in this report, based on what victims themselves said in their interviews, where they frequently referred to insomnia, anxieties, dizziness, headaches and other possibly psychosomatic symptoms which they date as having onset after particular events in their lives. Inferences can also be made based on known psychological consequences, which have been forensically established in work with civilians who suffered similar types of trauma in Zimbabwe during the 1970s. That those who experience psychological and physical torture suffer recognisable types of stress in consequence has been widely established, but to date there are no studies forensically corroborating this for 1980s victims in Zimbabwe.
The names of victims were collected from all the above-mentioned sources. With the exception of The Chronicle data, names were collated in the Human Rights Data Base (HR Data Base), which included all named victims from all districts of Zimbabwe.
The bulk of the named victims in the HR Data Base is from BLPC sources, with CCJP archival material providing the next largest number of victims. Human rights documents and academic sources provided a small number of named victims, whichfrequently validated names from other sources. In approximately one thousand cases, names would ultimately be validated from more than one source, with 3 or more confirmations occurring for more than three hundred victims: additional sources on any name were noted on the file print-outs.
Each victim was categorised and had the following information recorded in a running table:
1.A NUMBER was allocated
2.The SOURCE of data was indicated by a set of letters, such as CC for Catholic Commission, or PL for paralegal: the initials of lawyers, authors, or persons conducting interviews were also used.
3.The OFFENCE was indicated by a further set of letters, with most serious offence listed first in cases of multiple offences. More than half of the victims suffered multiple offences, such as physical torture and detention, or death and homestead destroyed. A complete key for offences is given in Table One below.
4.The NAME of the victim, including his or her surname and first names, was recorded. If the victim's own name was not completely indicated, the name of his or her spouse or parent was included.
5.The DISTRICT in which offence took place.
6.The PERPETRATOR, as alleged by interviewee.
7.The YEAR and MONTH of the offence.
8.The AGE of the victim was recorded, but only if the victim was under 18 years of age.
The sex of the victim was not recorded in the running table, although the distribution of male to female victims was separately assessed, by returning to the raw data in the case study areas. (Sex is usually apparent from the names of victims in any case.)
Periodically, data were sorted by the computer alphabetically according to districts and names, including first names, to eliminate the same victim being listed several times from different sources. At times, more than one person with the same name was established as having died or suffered injury, but this was only concluded after returning to the raw data, to compare the complete circumstances allegedly surrounding each incident.
PProperty loss
ASPhysical torture: Assault with Sticks, gun butts or blunt object
ABPhysical torture or injury resulting from Burns
AByPhysical Torture: Assault with Bayonette, knife or sharp object
AGGunshot wound
TPhysical Torture: including electrocution, water torture and other tortures not covered by above categories.
It will be noted that various types of physical torture have been differentiated: in the case study areas, the phenomenon of "mass beatings" is also dealt with as a separate entity. This is to draw attention to beating, and in particular "mass beating", as the preferred means of physical torture during those years, in particular by 5 Brigade.
When it became apparent that the data base was going to run to several thousand victims, it was sub-divided.
1.HR.1 consisted of 2 152 entries, including all data collated up until February 1996, from BLPC and CCJP sources.
2.HR.2 consisted of 411 entries, including data collated from academic and human rights sources, and two files of CCJP interviews conducted in the early 1990s.
3.HR.3 consisted of a severely reduced version of the CCJP "Matabeleland Case Files", excluding all those names already listed from other sources and all those without sufficient details. Remaining names amounted to a further 431 entries.
4.HR.4 consisted of 540 entries, representing all data collected from interviewing from July 1996 to October 1996.
5.HR.5 was a temporary data base constructed by moving all named victims from Matabeleland South already listed in HR.1, 2 and 3 into a sub-section, to facilitate comparing of names coming in from interviews in the Matobo region in late 1996 and being filed in HR.4, with those already on file from Matabeleland South.
The HR Data Base, inclusive of sub-sections HR.1, 2, 3 and 4 consists of 3 534 names, inclusive of all sources and districts of Zimbabwe.
The data base was closed at the end of October 1996 in order to facilitate graphing of existing data. However, data continued to be submitted to the BLPC, through the paralegals. Within a week of the base being closed, a further 8 deaths were reported to BLPC. In 7 cases, 5 Brigade were allegedly the perpetrators and in 1 dissidents were blamed. In the same week reports came in of one gun shot wound caused by dissidents, 4 cases of property losses (2 allegedly caused by ZANU-PF Youth and 2 by 5 Brigade), and 2 cases of assault, allegedly by 5 Brigade. This serves to highlight once again both the continuing problems facing people in areas affected by the 1980s disturbances, who continue to seek legal help, and the fact that the data base collated for this report is far from complete.
All The Chronicle news reports relating to the 1980s disturbances were extracted, from June 1982 to March 1988. Information about alleged victims was entered into a data base separate from, but identical to, the HR Data Base, for reasons discussed already.
As previously mentioned, these reports could be referred to as consisting of either "Specific" or "General" information. Only "Specific Reports" were entered into the data base. "General Reports" were treated separately (see Part Two, III for comparative tables and graphs).
As victims were often not named, the given number of victims in a news report frequently had to be entered instead of names. The names of farms, stores and bus companies were entered, when these were available and names of actual persons were not given. The value of property lost was entered if specified.
The Chronicle Data Base consists of 562 entries.
Apart from named victims, there were vast numbers of unnamed victims evident, not only from the interviews, but also from CCJP archival material, where victims were more often represented as numbers than names. Certain other documents, such as the LCFHR account, also referred at times to numbers of people injured or detained, without naming everyone.
In addition, in all districts apart from the two Case Study districts, named victims on file were from unsolicited sources, either archival CCJP names, or the names of legal clients with problems pertaining to these years. Most districts are therefore considerably under-represented on the named data base.
It became obvious that while it was important to keep the data base of named victims running, additional ways of assessing numbers of victims had to be found, if a realistic picture was to emerge.
On the HR Data Base, a number of victims unsubstantiated by every name was therefore occasionally entered. This was only done when the collator was certain that those victims were not already on the data base as named victims, and where the source seemed reliable. For example, several CCJP archival files refer to "2 school teachers shot dead at Dete Road turn-off" in February 1983. No interviews of named victims on file described these conditions for any death, so it seemed reasonable to assume these were new victims, and to include them in the data base. On the whole, very few cases involving purely unnamed victims in the CCJP archives were included in the HR Data Base, because of the problem of double-counting victims.
Occasionally numbers from other sources were included, such as those from the LCFHR document. This report often uses broad numbers to indicate people detained or injured, or property destroyed in a certain city within a given time span. For example, in its account of the disturbances in Matabeleland South in 1984, there is the following statement:

An American doctor, Davee Boyd, reported that he had treated more than a 100 assault victims with broken bones and stab wounds at his mission hospital [in Gwanda District] between February and the end of April [1984].
The HR Data Base had no named assault victims from Gwanda, although it had named deaths from Gwanda on record. This above statement was therefore entered into the HR Data Base, as "100 assault victims, Gwanda".
Similarly, the LCFHR document refers to numbers of properties destroyed in the Midlands during the 1985 disturbances. Compilers of the LCFHR document actually visited some of the affected areas in the immediate wake of these disturbances, and were therefore in a position to comment reliably. The HR Data Base had comparatively few of the Midlands offences on record, particularly from Silobela, so these figures were also introduced into the HR Data Base.
The LCFHR document was well researched and substantiated, and only those figures which the compilers considered fair were included in the HR Data Base. If the compilers were not sure that a certain figure could be substantiated, they said so. For example, when commenting on the post 1985-election wave of detentions in Bulawayo, LCFHR states:

A Zapu Spokesman... said that 415 Zapu members had been detained during the month of August, but this number could not be independently confirmed. Repeated attempts to obtain the names of those whom Zapu claimed to be in detention were unsuccessful.
This figure was therefore not included in the HR Data Base. There are, however, some named detainees from other sources included under Bulawayo in the HR Data Base, supporting at least in part the contention that detentions took place at that time.
The LCFHR general figures were also not included for Tsholotsho and Matobo, the 2 case study areas, because of the very different and more detailed way in which these two areas were analysed.

As mentioned in the discussion of data sources, BLPC interviews always included the names of victims, while CCJP records tended to deal in numbers of victims, rather than consistently naming victims However, both CCJP and BLPC records of victims tended to record "village" where events took place in the case of each victim. In the two Case Study areas it was therefore decided to use "village" as the common parameter across data sources. In this way, it was possible to integrate information on both named and unnamed victims, without counting the same victim twice.

This method involved going back to all the raw data in the case study areas, and re-arranging it in terms of villages where offences took place, rather than in terms of overall district, or type of offence.
The "village by village" summary of events proved to be a very productive strategy when analysing data on Tsholotsho and Matobo, and helped reveal broader patterns of events. The locations of army units at different times, in particular 5 Brigade, was also apparent with this approach.
The presence of dissidents was also indicated, but they were comparatively rarely referred to as perpetrators. Those statements indicating dissidents were therefore highlighted in the summaries by ****.
As villages were mentioned in source data, they were located on a map, and a section on every village was opened in the "village by village" summary. Interview data on each village was included in highly abridged form, and this data was added to as new details came to light.
Total offences were included at the end of each village summary, once all data had been processed in this way.
A conservative approach was taken when assessing numbers of victims. For example, if CCJP recorded 8 deaths in a given village in Feb 1983, and BLPC had 10 named victims for that village, BLPC's victims were assumed to coincide completely with CCJP's, and 10 deaths were considered the total. In such cases, the CCJP archival record served as corroboratory evidence of statements being made in the 1990s. A reading of the case studies themselves will illustrate more precisely how different sources were used in conjunction with each other. CCJP sources are indicated by **, while source interviews are indicated by their HR Data Base file number.
As there was a high level of corroboration between sources throughout the case study areas, CCJP numbered victims were included for villages where there had been no information gathered in the 1990s.
In many of the interviews conducted in 1995/96, witnesses often tended to concentrate on a few named victims, without specifying more general numbers of victims exactly. For example, an interview could include the comment: " besides my father, many, many people died that day". No attempt has been made to quantify such statements: they are merely indicated in the Total Offence summary at the end of that village as "1 known victim, plus others".
Mass beatings of villagers was a significant phenomenon of 5 Brigade activity. Interviews and CCJP files refer repeatedly to its occurrence, but what this means in terms of actual numbers of victims is difficult to assess. Many interviews refer to "all the people in their line" being marched at gun-point to a certain point and then being beaten.
The term "line" can mean very different things, in terms of population. Generally speaking, it refers to the way villagers were made to lay out their settlements when they were forcibly resettled in Tsholotsho by the colonial Government in the 1950s and 1960s. Homesteads were literally arranged in long lines, along the dirt tracks in the area. A "line" can indicate anything from 3 "sabuku" areas, to an entire school catchment area, running for several kilometers. A "sabuku" is an official, sometimes elected, but usually inherited or appointed, presiding over usually 6 to 10 families. So a "line" could be from around 20 to 30 families, to at least treble this number. Each family could conservatively be estimated to have 5 members (2 adults and 3 children), although in reality most families are larger than this. This means numbers of people present at a "mass beating" could be anything from 100 to several hundreds.
The problem then still remains as to what is meant by "everyone" being beaten. In some cases, even the elderly were beaten, and certainly women were beaten: interviews will refer at times to the women being allowed to take turns holding the babies in between beatings. Children aged 12 and upwards were also frequently beaten.
The number of villagers forced to witness mass beatings runs to thousands, and includes all age categories. Everyone present at such beatings was a victim of torture - either physical, if they were actually beaten, or psychological, if they were forced to witness the beating of others. For a full discussion of this, see Part Three, I .
A conservative estimate of 50 present at such beatings has been made.
Detentions have proved difficult to quantify: at one level, anyone who is held at gun-point or translocated against his or her will can be said to have been detained, and to have experienced intimidation and trauma. At another level, there were many hundreds of people who were detained for long periods of time in police or army camps or buildings of one sort or another. Again, it is not easy now to quantify how many.
The number of "detainees" indicated in this report can therefore be assumed to be substantially lower than those actually detained.

This report makes use of all currently available sources, both archival and contemporary. These sources include human rights documents, legal records, academic sources and media reports. These have all been assessed as conservatively as possible, in order to prevent exaggerating events or double counting victims.

Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


A.Definitions of organised violence
B.Forms of organised violence
1.)Physical torture
3.)Sensory overstimulation
4.)Psychological torture - general
5.)Psychological torture - witnessing of violence
6.)Psychological torture - Disappearances
C.Consequences of organised violence
1.)Physical consequences
2.)Psychological consequences
D.Consequences of organised violence for society.
E.Relevance to Matabeleland - conclusion







Psychological torture too defies easy description, but all forms identified share common elements in the creation of extreme fear in a situation of uncontrollability. However, uncontrollability is a factor common to most torture methods, and, furthermore, it is difficult in practice to make clear distinctions between the effects of general psychological torture, and the specific anguish caused by "witnessing" and "disappearances". The clearest distinctions can always be found between what are termed "impact torture" and "non-impact torture" where the presence of physical injuries is the major difference. As can be seen below in the findings reported by Rasmussen, the variety of forms of psychological torture is very wide.
(from Rasmussen.1990)
Threats 85%
Threats of execution 60%
Undressed 45%
Threats towards family members 43%
Sham execution 31%
Sexual verbal assaults 20%
Changing attitudes(hard/soft) 12%
Noise torture 5%
Excrement abuse 3%
Nontherapeutic use of drugs 4%
Torture via exposure to animals 1%
Physical torture in itself must always have psychological consequences, and psychological torture therefore is probably the most common form of torture used. Psychological torture is also frequently applied on its own, and can be very successful in causing both short-term and long-term damage to a person. Psychological torture should therefore not be seen as a lesser form of ill treatment.
Threats, verbal abuse, mock executions, and the like are all intended to convey fear and instil obedience and, furthermore, usually convey some threat for the future.
Entire communities consisting of thousands of people were subjected to psychological torture. The "Commander Jesus speech" above is a good example of the way the 5 Brigade often prefaced their arrival in an area with dire threats against all residents of Matabeleland. Any subsequent meeting with 5 Brigade after such a speech would cause acute fear and anxiety for civilians. 5 Brigade also often used the salutary execution of randomly selected people as a threat of further executions in communities. People would also be detained and threatened with executions which were then not carried out.
Forced nudity was also a psychological weapon at times: the Tsholotsho case study reports the forced stripping of entire village communities before mass beating, and other cases where people were selectively stripped in front of their communities. The effectiveness of this strategy in causing extreme humiliation, anger and helplessness is evident from the interviews.In Matabeleland South in particular, there were frequently verbal sexual abuse and insults. Some interviews report 5 Brigade making sexual suggestions to naked victims, including suggesting forced sex between related family members, or between school children, or between people and animals. In addition, some political detainees were interrogated while naked.
The following statement is part of a far longer statement made to project personnel in October 1996 by a man who was sixteen in 1984 - Interview Case Number 3737. He was detained with 12 others from his village on the day the curfew began, and was among the first ever to arrive at Bhalagwe. As in all the previous testimonies, his case serves to illustrate several types of physical and psychological torture: threatened execution is just one.
The 5 Brigade herded everyone in our village together, about 70 or more people. From 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. we were beaten, including women and children, with sticks and fanbelts. Then they chose 12 people to come to Bhalagwe - 4 women and 8 men. 2 of the women were old and 2 were schoolgirls. 3 of the men were schoolboys, including myself: I was sixteen.
We were taken first to Kezi, and the 5 Brigade told us we were being taken there to be shot. When we arrived, they told us we would be taken two by two at 1p.m. and be shot. When 1 o'clock came, they told us they had decided to throw us down a mine instead. They then loaded us in a truck and drove off. We thought we were being taken to be killed, but we were brought to Bhalagwe....
At Bhalagwe the charge office was full of blood. We had to sit in lines outside the office waiting our turn to be beaten. When you were in front of the line, you knew it was your turn next. The beatings started at 5.30 a.m. I saw 2 people being shot, and 7 being beaten to death. Very many died, but I helped to bury only these 9 I saw die. I dug their graves. People were buried two or three to a grave....
There are large numbers of persons who reported witnessing others being abused. This is reported from the mass beatings, the "pungwes", and the places of detention, both interrogation centres and Bhalagwe camp. The following case illustrates the point by reference to a pungwe. This case was recorded in the form of a sworn statement by a 31 year old man from a village near Donkwe Donkwe, in Matobo, made to CCJP officials on 8 March 1984.
In the morning of 5 February, 1984, soldiers came to our village and told us to go to Dingi Store. We were made to wriggle like snakes towards the store. When we got there I saw other people already gathered, and some of them were being beaten while lying down, by about nineteen soldiers.
When we joined the gathering we were made to run around while being beaten; others were beaten lying down. There were men, women and children who could roughly fill two and a half buses (200?) The soldiers hit us with mapani sticks and kicked us with their boots.
The soldiers were speaking Shona and through an interpreter they were saying, "You support dissidents."
We were being beaten at the shop from about sunrise until about 10 a.m. Then afterwards we were all taken behind our houses to a spot about 100 metres away where there are two mapani trees and we were made to sit down. The soldiers asked for two picks and two shovels and they were brought to them.
While some were being beaten, others were told to fight each other while at the same time being beaten by soldiers. Others were lying down while being beaten.
As this was going on soldiers were selecting six young men at random. Three were put on one side and three on the other side of the crowd. Two soldiers then shot dead the three in one group, and two other soldiers also shot dead the three young men in the other group.
The other men and women and children who were sitting down were asked to sing while soldiers went among them beating them up. We were singing things like "Pansi loNkomo, Pambili loMugabe." Some songs were in Ndebele and others were in Shona.
The six killed were: MM, aged 24 years - my brother
BD, aged about 24 years
BN, aged about 30 years
MB, aged about 31 years
ON, aged about 24 years
Z?, aged about 31 years
In two groups the older people were asked to dig two graves quickly or they themselves would be buried in the graves. The rest of the people in the meantime were being asked to sing and dance while being beaten.
I dug the grave in which my brother was buried - two faced one side and the other in the opposite direction. The graves were shallow, about thigh deep. They were buried in their clothes. The burial arrangements for the second grave were the same as for the first. We covered the graves after which we were made to join the others in the singing while being beaten.
At about 4 p.m. a group of about nineteen young men carried the bags of the soldiers and went away with the soldiers. These young men had come along with the soldiers in the morning. We were told by the soldiers to wait for five minutes after they left before we could go back to our homes. My younger brother heard one shot as they left, and the following morning we heard that soldiers had killed GD near the store.
I arrived in Bulawayo on 11 February at about 2 p.m. having left home on foot on 5 February at night. I was sick and bleeding through the mouth, and that is why it took me so long to get here. I used to sleep in the bush. I spent two days without food, and afterwards I would ask for food at kraals along the way.
There are a significant number or reports that mention being witness to an execution. This is also a factor that many survivors from the Chimurenga mention. In Mount Darwin, survivors of such multiple abuse were all found to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the same would be expected for 1980s survivors. People in Matabeleland and the Midlands have now been subjected to two successive periods of intense violence and the witnessing of violence. It is therefore important for the future that the effects of the massed, public violence be examined.
Some earlier workers in the field of traumatic stress argued that civilian populations were little affected by war. Rachman, for example, claimed that there was little evidence of increased psychological disorder during the Second World War in the United Kingdom (Rachman.1986). However, there was little direct investigation of trauma in civilian populations until the last decade, and, following the invention of PTSD (see section following), there has been the continual demonstration of psychological disorder in populations in situations of war and civil conflict. These situations are usefully described by the term "High War Zone Stress", but can equally be described as "witnessing".
The term, High War Zone Stress, was originally applied to differentiate soldiers in combat settings from those in non-combat zones, and examined how frequent experience of military fighting, or proximity to people being killed, affected fears about oneself being killed. Sadly, High War Zone Stress is today not unique to military personnel. and describes the daily life of many civilians. It is particularly relevant to situations of guerrilla war, and obviously to Southern Africa. Modern wars are distinguished by the strategic involvement of civilians: up to 80% of the casualties of wars now are civilians, mostly women and children. Civilians world wide not only frequently suffer physically from conflicts, but inevitably they also witness violence and death.
Furthermore, deliberate massacres, executions, threats and abuse are frequently forced upon ordinary people by military and paramilitary forces in an attempt to remove support for guerrillas or political parties.This frequently leads to both sides terrorising civilians in order to prevent support for the other side. This creats a situation of sustained fear and stress for the ordinary person. The experience of being "The Man in the Middle" was common in the Liberation War, throughout Zimbabwe. And as this report has documented above, this situation was repeated in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the 1980s, with civilians trapped between the dissidents and the security forces.
Witnessing can vary in terms of the degree of resulting psychological torture depending on the element of controllability. A person among thousands of people at a mass rally where beatings are taking place, for example, could close his/her eyes or look the other way. However, such an option was not open to people in the rally described above, where proximity to the executions and the accompanying beatings and demands being made by the soldiers would have made witnessing of violence almost impossible to avoid, if one were lucky enough to avoid an actual beating.
One should not minimise the seriousness of witnessing extreme violence, nor the depth of fear that it can create.
Forcing civilians to witness violence was a deliberate facet of 5 Brigade behaviour, both in Mat North and the Midlands in 1983, and in Mat South in 1984. Tens of thousands of civilians can be estimated to have observed violence, if one considers, for example, the high forced attendance at political rallies during these years, and the prevalence of public beatings at these. In addition, possibly thousands witnessed executions, particularly in 1983, when it was common practice for 5 Brigade to execute people in the village setting. All those who have reported their experiences at Bhalagwe in 1984 also witnessed killings in this camp, and if their experiences are typical, which they seem to be as they coincide to a remarkable degree, then thousands at Bhalagwe also witnessed executions. All the testimonies already included in this chapter give ample support for the prevalence of witnessed violence during these years.
One very sinister form of psychological torture is the use of forced disappearances. This refers to the abduction of individuals, who may be kept in secret detention for long periods, but are often executed in secret. This is a strategy that has been growing in recent decades, and some of the most tragic examples can be found in Latin America. For example, about 10 000 individuals were "disappeared" in Argentina during the rule of the military junta in the 1970s. It is also a strategy that has been used in Zimbabwe, both during the Liberation War and the 1980s disturbances.
Disappearances are used for two reasons. Firstly, the disappeared person is usually some kind of an opponent of the government, and it serves a strategic purpose to get rid of opposition. Secondly, it puts extreme pressure on the targeted group and particularly the families of the disappeared.
It creates enormous psychological and social problems for the surviving people, and this has been well documented by several Latin American groups who work with the families of disappeared persons. For example, in Argentina it has been argued that the life-expectancy of the fathers of the disappeared is reduced below the national average, and it has also been shown that the surviving children often have marked psychological difficulties (Lagos.1995).
In Africa, disappearances may have even more profound effects. Since death and misfortune are always events of extreme concern for the entire extended family, a disappearance that may or may not be a death creates a wide range of problems. African families are compelled by spiritual belief to undertake proper rituals for the burial of the dead, and anything that prevents this happening can leave the family with the expectation of future misfortune (Mupinda.1995). For example, it was frequently observed in the refugee setting that many Mozambican refugees were preoccupied with worries about not having properly buried their dead when they fled into exile (Reeler.1995).
It has also been observed in Zimbabwe that many families were deeply distressed by the non return of family members from the Liberation War: large numbers of young men and women left home to join the guerrillas in Mozambique, and large numbers never returned. The families have no information about the fate of their relatives, and some have even engaged in lengthy searches to find out what happened, to find where they were buried if they died (Mupinda.1995).
So disappearances in Africa can range from forcible abductions to disappearances in the sense of "missing in action" to disappearances in the sense of an individual never being heard of again. These seem to have identical effects on the surviving members of the family, and we need to understand much more about these effects.
Disappearances were a deliberate part of the state strategy in the 1980s, although to date there are only 354 named "disappeared" victims. Even this number is indicative of disappearance having been an official policy. Many dozens of others were picked up in midnight raids by mysterious government agents, and held incommunicado for some months before their release. The manner of their removal from their homes, and the uncertainty this resulted in, generated intense psychological stress for their families. The timing of disappearances was also significant: they coincided with the months prior to Zimbabwe's general election, targetted opposition party officials, and generally added to a climate of fear and intimidation already prevalent at that time.
As we mentioned above there are some reasons for considering disappearances to be an especially broad-reaching form of abuse.The effects of disappearances have been partially documented in Mashonaland (Mupinda.1995). Anecdotal evidence and Richard Werbner's comments in his anthropological work Tears of the Dead suggest that the effects of disappearances are profound on surviving family members in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
There is evidence to suggest that disappearances cause long-term depression, family dysfunction, and even long-term community disruption. The number reported in this report is modest, but it should be borne in mind that this abuse targets whole families, and has long term effects. For many of the families of the disappeared the burden of living without a death certificate for a loved one has been enormous - stopping them getting state-aided education for orphans, for example - and every encounter with the bureaucracy a reminder of the event. Bear in mind, further, that many disappearances took place in forcible abductions, often in very frightening circumstances.
The following statement, Interview Case Number 1099, is about an incident that took place in Tsholotsho in May 1985. It is typical of those on file.
Late at night, people knocked at our door, while we were all sleeping. I went to open and two men asked for my husband. I told them he was blind, and asleep. They asked for him and took him to the gate, where there were many others. I did not hear what they said to him, although I heard him reply that he did not know whatever it was they wanted to know.
They returned him to the house and said he should get his ID card and come back with me. This man in cross belts noticed I was in an advanced state of pregnancy. He ordered me back into the house and they went away with my husband.
The next morning we found my husband's ID card. It was 2 km away from our home, and broken into two pieces. A little further on we found blood clots, sticks and vehicle tracks. The footprints ended here. We have not seen or heard of my husband since. We are destitutes.
Internationally, disappearances have become the focus of major attention, with even the United Nations laying down principles to be applied in cases of disappearance. The long-term effects are only beginning to be understood, but it is continually stressed, by those working in this particular area, that the effects are exceedingly widespread and long-term. The disappearance of a person by the state strikes at the foundations of the state's trustworthiness: survivors seem rarely to feel any confidence or safety in the state's protection after this, and especially when no investigations take place to determine the legality of this behaviour. Various Argentinian and Chilean researchers have commented that corruption, increased violence, voter apathy and a climate of silence frequently follow undisclosed disappearances. We might speculate here on a reason for declining voting attendances at elections, and not just in Matabeleland, for the same comment might easily be made of all areas in Zimbabwe that have experienced epidemic violence.
The consequences of repressive violence are many and complex, and include both physical and psychological effects. The psychological study of the effects of organised violence is a new field, and there are still controversies about the effects and how best to classify them. However, the physical effects of torture are generally more clear cut. Before considering the current findings, it is pertinent to consider some local and regional evidence as regards violence and its effects.
In Zimbabwe it is estimated that between 20-30% of primary care patients are suffering from psychological disorders (Reeler & Todd.1993; Reeler et al.1991; Reeler.1986), but there are no accurate estimates of the prevalence or incidence of disorders due to violence. However, one of the earlier studies of psychological morbidity, carried out by Hall and Williams at Karanda Mission Hospital in 1984, estimated morbidity at 39% of all outpatients, and this was carried out in an area that experienced extreme violence during the Second Chimurenga.. The Hall and Williams study has provided one of the highest estimates of psychological morbidity, and, although the authors made no comment about violence, more recent observations at the same site suggest that disorders due to violence may explain this high rate (Reeler & Mupinda.1995).
There are good grounds in Zimbabwe for already suspecting high rates of disorders due to organized violence, but there are no good estimates of the physical consequences of organized violence. This is a general comment of many observers of the effects of recent Zimbabwean conflicts, and there is nothing remarkable in this assertion. Studies of Mozambican refugees and reports from the Zimbabwean community all indicate that many patients suffer from the effects of war, torture and ill-treatment, but all this data is drawn largely from the field of psychiatry, and the data that deals with physical sequelae is mostly self-report. There are therefore no good estimates to help in the assessment of likely morbidity as a result of the 1980s violence. However, comparisons with international studies, especially as regards physical effects, are possible.
In general the physical effects of organized violence can be classified into 2 categories: one group of people who have a wide range of non-specific somatic complaints, and another group who describe specific symptoms corresponding to the type of violence they experienced (Juhler.1992). To some extent this is an arbritrary classification, for some survivors can present with both types of complaints. We will briefly summarise the general findings here.
a.) Non-specific somatic complaints: this refers to people showing signs of general stress , or psychological reactions to torture. As Juhler has commented (Juhler.1991), the most frequent complaints come from 4 organ systems: the central nervous system (headaches), the musculo-skeletal system (joint and muscle pains), the cardio-vascular system (palpitations), and the gastro-intestinal system (abdominal pains). These are very common symptoms in Zimbabwean primary care settings, but there are clear differences between general psychological disorders (due to ordinary stresses) and disorders due to organized violence.
The most important of these relates to musculo-skeletal symptoms. Studies carried out in Denmark have concluded that two main symptom clusters can be identified: those in joints (due to overstretching), and those in muscles, that are due to general stress. Joint pains are therefore an importantly different symptom in the complaints of survivors, but it is also clear that it is very difficult to find objective evidence of pathological lesions or injuries.
It is also clear that many survivors associate their pains with the torture or ill-treatment in an almost symbolic way, often as a consequence of the way in which the torture is delivered. Here we can give the example of electrical shocks given to the genitalia leading to later sexual dysfunction. It is rare that the sexual dysfunction is due to any physical lesion, but the conditioning effect is extremely powerful. This kind of conditioning effect is common to many forms of torture, and rape would be another good example.
b.) Specific Symptoms: the more violent the torture the more likely there is to be sound evidence of physical damage. There is endless medical evidence of brain injury, paralysis, fractures, damaged organs, and altered functions. There are a large number of studies which show the pathological damage of falanga, burnings, beatings, cutting, head injuries and the like.
In the current study there were a large number of interviewees who gave anecdotal evidence of deafness and partial blindness which they attributed to beatings in the 1980s. Such reports are in accordance with other studies, which report a high frequency of deafness in survivors who have been beaten on the head. There were also many reports of permanent damage to limbs and to reproductive and urinary functioning. While there is archival medical evidence for many injuries being suffered in the 1980s, the current medical status of those who suffered then, still remains to be established.
As mentioned above, it is difficult years after the event to provide objective evidence of what originally caused a physical injury. It is enough to reiterate here that the only thing that distinguishes torture from other similar damage is the intent and the legal responsibility of the perpetrator.
These effects are perhaps not as well-known, but are certainly better understood than they were two decades ago. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most commonly used current term to describe the psychological effects of organised violence, and it provides a catch-all description for all disorders and symptoms in which the stressor is of a "catastrophic" nature.
Earlier descriptions of these effects had been classified mainly by reference to the precipitating event, and "concentration camp syndrome", "post-Vietnam syndrome", and "rape trauma syndrome" are all well-known examples of this approach to classification (Rasmussen.1990).
The prevalence of post traumatic disorders is rather variable, and has been assessed in two ways: one approach has been to examine prevalence in the general population, whilst the other has been to examine prevalence in "at risk" groups. As Shay has commented, the prevalence rates for PTSD amongst Vietnam veterans is 32 times greater than the comparable prevalence rates amongst demographically similar civilians (Shay.1996).
This is an extremely high prevalence, but data derived from studies of military veterans may not be directly useful for this report: many Vietnam veterans report both experiencing violence as well as perpetrating severe human rights violations themselves. Thus, data from persons who are both victims and perpetrators may not be useful for the understanding of persons who are victims alone. This does not mean that we should not understand the perpetrators, merely that we are here concerned with victims alone.
Despite some conflicting findings, current research suggests a dose-response effect due to the magnitude of the stressor, and, according to this argument, torture will represent the most severe of all stressors, and the prevalence of PTSD should be highest in this population.
In terms of psychological torture and witnessing, if a stressful situation lasts an afternoon, or several weeks, or several years, its consequences for survivors should differ. In the 1980s, the situation of high war zone stress lasted from 1982/3 until the Unity Agreement in1987: although the 5 Brigade, the most feared unit, was disbanded in 1986, civilians still felt under siege from multiple forces until December 1987. Indeed, some still do not rule out the return of persecution in the future.
The way in which the violence developed exacerbated this: 5 Brigade impact was unexpected, profound and unprecedented. Having once experienced the utterly unexpected, civilians in affected areas still believe it could happen again. The slow build up of violence which typified the Second Chimurenga differed significantly from the sudden epidemic violence of the 5 Brigade, and its psychological consequences can be expected to have differed accordingly, with the 1980s violence being perceived as worse by sufferers.
Recent studies of Holocaust victims suggest clinical disturbance in third-generation survivors (Hardi & Szilagyi.1993), but it is not clear that the disturbance measured in the grandchildren of concentration camp victims can be described as PTSD. Perhaps the significant aspect of these studies is that there is a pattern of disturbance in descendants of torture victims: this clearly has a bearing for the report on hand, and for other parts of Zimbabwe.
All of this epidemiological work has been substantially supported by empirical work. Studies of sleep show a wide range of differences between PTSD sufferers and other populations, both civilian and military, with PTSD sufferers showing greater problems with falling asleep and maintaining sleep.
Some of the key features of PTSD - sleep disturbance, intrusive cognitions, psychological reactivity and physiological distress - seem to be supported empirically, and there is support for the notion of a specific disorder produced by trauma, and capable of being delineated from other disorders.
It seems clear that exposure to violence has severe, persistent and delayed sequelae, with an apparent dose-response effect, but there still remain some difficulties, and some critics. The major critics come from amongst those working with torture survivors, who are critical of many aspects of the PTSD definition, and suggest that there may still be such a thing as a "torture syndrome" apart from PTSD.
Torture clearly represents an extreme form of exposure to violence, in that the effects are premeditated and designed, the process usually involves attacks of both a physical and psychological nature, and, most importantly, torture has an explicitly political purpose in a clear socio-political context. One estimate sees "government-sanctioned torture" as being present in 78 countries in the world (Jacobsen & Vesti.1992), whilst another estimate reckons that between 5% and 35% of the worlds refugees have suffered at least one torture experience (Baker.1993).
It may seem to be hair-splitting to raise the socio-political in a consideration of psychopathology, but it is obvious that it is just this aspect of torture that sets it aside from disasters, catastrophes, wars, accidents and abuse. Torture and repressive violence are specifically targeted at individuals and groups with the specific intention of causing harm, forcing compliance, and destroying political will, frequently in the absence of war, but always in a situation of civil conflict (Somnier & Genefke.1986). The deliberate and systematic attack on people, and the attempt to destroy personality and political will, are felt to be such intrinsic features of torture that a narrow definition, such as PTSD, may miss this. In fact, torture survivors suffer a wide range of adverse consequences, and this frequently means that the process can carry on over a very extended time period. For this reason, many workers feel that "ongoing traumatic stress disorder" would be a much more accurate expression of torture (Straker.1987).
"The deliberate infliction of harm seems to place torture in the position of a distinct form of stressor, and the specific purpose behind torture makes it very different from random violence or catastrophe, whether natural or man-made. Furthermore, the violence is decidedly purposive, with the aim of the systematic destruction of individual and community identity, and it is very hard to know how to include in a definition what is surely a notion of "evil", however unpalatable this notion might seem to a scientist." (Reeler.1994)
The argument in support of a discreet and recognisable `torture syndrome', has been partially resolved by some recent British research (Ramsay et al.1993; Gorst-Unsworth et al.1993; Turner & Gorst-Unsworth.1990). In Zimbabwe, this model has received partial validation in a study of war veterans (Reeler & Mupinda.1996).
Repressive violence is not just an issue that affects individuals, but, as was pointed out above, much modern violence has the purpose of terrorizing whole communities. So we have to consider the consequences for society as a whole, and not just merely for the affected individuals. It is not a simple task, however, to identify the societal: not even attempts to explain the Nazi phenomenon have proved wholly satisfactory. Some general consequences can nonetheless be briefly indicated.
Firstly, there is frequently a sustained climate of fear amongst the affected population, and this is borne out by all contacts with person who were involved during the various wars and disturbances in Southern Africa. This affects all aspects of peoples' lives, may be exaggerated during times of political disturbance, and profoundly affects peoples' ability to live full, social lives. There is now a considerable literature from South Africa speculating about the consequences of the decades of organised violence, and the persistence of fear, helplessness and insecurity in social groups has been noted in many other national settings. One South African study, one of the best studies to date, followed up school children affected by the township violence of the 1980s, and found marked differences in how well the children adapted in later years (Straker et al.1992).
Secondly, there may be an increase in violent behaviour in the affected population. Here the focus is not so much on the increase in violent crime per se, but in the increase in violence of a random or motiveless nature: reprisal killings, rampage killings, violent outbursts, etc. It is generally observed that sustained civil violence results in a general increase in all violence, not merely political violence. Northern Ireland provides a good case example here, where studies of children show a marked increase in child violence, violent attitudes amongst children, as well as higher levels of anxiety, depression, and family pathology. South Africa is an even more relevant example, and all observers are agreed that the violence in South Africa is of epidemic proportions, and is not merely a political phenomenon (Michelson.1994).
Thirdly, there is the reappearance of silence in group situations, which is usually related to fears about reprisals. This fear, seen as fear of speaking out in groups or fears about being overheard, can severely impair the ability to indulge in social and political activities. This can obviously have profound economic and political consequences, and it is worth noting that even the World Bank now views psychopathology as a significant impediment to social and economic development. Disorders due to violence should be included in the general category of psychopathology.
Fourthly, there is a concern amongst human rights workers for the future, albeit a speculative concern. It has been noted in several international meetings that the transition from strong repressive government to weak democratic government, which is the case for Zimbabwe, can often lead to highly destabilized situations in which violence increases rather than decreases. Here we should note carefully the recent events in the Balkans.
Clearly, none of these situations, especially the last, is desirable in the future, and suggests that, unless a determined effort is made to redress the wrongs and rehabilitate the survivors, there are likely to be long-term sequelae from war, destabilization and human rights violations. At the societal level there is the need for action.
There are several conclusions that emerge from the reports on the violence in the 1980s. The first has to do with the way in which the violence developed. As was seen earlier, there was a massive escalation in violence in the early years (1982-1984), with a marked decline in violence subsequently. This is very different to the violence seen during the Second Chimurenga, where the violence began at low levels and then increased over the years to reach the highest levels before the end of the war in 1980. It is fair to conclude that the violence in the 1980s was of an epidemic nature in which there was very widespread exposure to violence for many people.
There is a significant group of individuals, not fewer than 7 000, for whom active help may be needed now, and it is very probable that the total number is much higher. There are hospital records describing some of the injuries in the 1980s and their consequences, supporting the general assumption of epidemic violence made above. We should bear in mind here the findings from other settings and countries, which mostly suggest the dose-response effect - that there is an association between high levels of violence and the frequency and severity of disorders due to violence. There is an urgent need to investigate the current status of victims.
The findings of this report give much cause for concern. However, until it is possible to establish the numbers of people affected, the frequency and severity of the injuries sustained, and the range of long-term effects, all conclusions must be tentative. It is probable that the numbers of survivors is much higher than this study has indicated, and some epidemiological study is called for in the likely debate over numbers affected.
Torture and ill-treatment are the most common experiences reported, and these have severe long-term effects. Given that beatings were the most common experiences reported, there must be concern for the extent of the physical damage to the survivors, and this will require detailed medical examination by doctors and physiotherapists. Similarly, psychological disorders are also likely to be common, and we would expect PTSD, Depression, and Somatization Disorders to be among the most common if the studies from other Zimbabwean settings are anything to go by. There has also clearly been a very high rate of witnessed violence in affected parts of the country, particularly in 1983 and 1984.
Thus, the possible effects - individual, familial, and community - are serious indeed. There are those living now in our country that have been tortured, watched others being tortured too, seen deaths by execution, and even had a close family relative abducted, never to be seen again. It also pertinent to observe the very real poverty of many of these survivors, and to remember the findings on property loss. The general air of economic stress scarcely provides a climate for healing and rehabilitation, and may, worse than this, be a source of continued trauma, or what one South African worker has termed "continuous traumatic stress" (Straker.1987).
There is very little in the reports of the survivors that is surprising or unusual, and very little that is not found in other settings in Zimbabwe, or even in other countries. There is little reason to expect that the findings from this investigation will be any different to previous findings. The survivors of Gukurahundi will show physical and psychological injuries and disorders, and will probably have little faith in these being addressed, given it is the same government that inflicted the injuries that they must go to for help. As one Chilean worker has expressed this dilemma:

"... how can we continue to help to relieve others of their sorrow and liberate them from the sufferings of grief if society keeps shutting the door on truth and full redress? Is it at all possible to imagine peace of mind for a person if you force him/her completely to give up any hope of finding out the whereabouts of a son, a spouse, the most beloved? How do we succeed in making a survivor of cruel and inhuman torture feel completely rehabilitated if this society continues to disgrace the survivor and lets the torturer go unpunished?"
(Simona Ruy-Peres.1996)
Perhaps Zimbabwe can be different to Chile, and perhaps it will not take another 10 years before we heal the wounds and assuage the grief. The task will be difficult, but not impossible without the will and commitment to change the future by acknowledging the past.
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


Methodology has already been covered in some depth in Part One, II. To summarise, named victims were extracted from multiple sources, which included CCJP archival material, interviews conducted in the 1990s, paralegal clients, and previously published human rights and academic documents. These named victims were entered into the "HR Data Base". Each name was allocated a number, a set of letters indicating offence/s, and district and perpetrator were also tabulated.(see page for more detail). The following totals were arrived at:







TOTAL VICTIMS:3 534entries in combined HR Data Bases.
OFFENCES:7 246 [most victims suffered 2 or even 3 offences: occasionally one entry clearly indicates more than 1 victim - see Part One, II for examples.
Approximately one thousand victims were validated from more than one source, and more than 300 were validated by 3 or more sources.
Data from The Chronicle, Bulawayo's daily newspaper, were entered into an identical, but separate data base, for reasons discussed in Part One, II. The Chronicle listed victims in 2 ways, defined for the purposes of this report as "General" and "Specific" Reports.
"General Reports" are the six monthly statements in Parliament, giving total numbers of dissident offences without clear indication of where they occurred.
"Specific Reports" are the day by day reports of dissident activites, which tended to give the district where offences took place, the number of victims or value of property lost, but not usually the exact names of victims. Only specific reports were entered into The Chronicle Data Base.
The Chronicle data base consisted of 562 entries, and covered the months from June 1982 to March 1988.

Victim data were computer-sorted along various parameters for assessment.
It was sorted alphabetically by:
1 District
2. Year and Month (numerical sorting)
3. Type of offence
4. Surname and then first names of victim
A process of counting rows, once this sorting was complete, made it possible for the computer to quantify offences in required ways. Data were sorted by district and offence for Table I, and were resorted by perpetrator, offence and year for Table II.
Total numbers of offences exceeded total number of named victims, as the majority of victims suffered multiple injuries, such as loss of property and death, or detention and torture. If victims suffered injuries from more than one agency (ie 5 Brigade and CIO), then only the primary agency is counted as perpetrator.
As mentioned previously, data from The Chronicle were kept separately, but were sorted and counted in the same way as other data.
TABLE I -Human Rights (HR) Data Base: the District by District Distribution of victims.
TABLE II - HR Data Base: Comparison of Yearly Totals of Dissident and Army Offences.
TABLE III -The Chronicle Data Base (Specific Reports): the District by District Distribution of victims.
TABLE IV -The Chronicle: Comparison of Yearly Totals of Dissident and Army offences.
TABLE V - General Reports in The Chronicle, announced every 6 months in Parliament, listing numbers of dissident offences.
TABLE VI -The numbers of alleged killings and arrests of dissidents by government agencies, as given in The Chronicle.
These can be found immediately following the Tables.
This accompanies the graphs, and there is a further discussion in which the possible numbers of real victims is assessed.
X Death
M Missing, presumed dead
P Property loss - destruction or theft
TPhysical torture: includes all types of torture not covered by other categories, such as electrical shock, tying up of victim, submarino etc.
D Detention (by Govt agencies)
K Kidnap or abduction (by dissidents)
AS Physical torture: Assault with Sticks, or other blunt weapon
ABPhysical torture: Assault with Burning object, or enclosure of victim in burning building
ABy Physical torture: Assault with Bayonette, or other sharp weapon
AG Physical injury: Gun Shot Wound
R Rape
PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE: Forced witnessing of violence, in particular against those you love and respect, is a very effective and devastating form of torture: thousands of Zimbabweans were victims of this experience. Being forced to watch your family starving as the result of food embargos, or being subjected to verbal threats, are other forms of psychological torture that whole populations suffered. As this was so wide-spread, no attempt has been made to quantify psychological torture. Definitions and implications of psychological torture are dealt with in Part Three, I of the report.
X Missing
M Prop
P Tort
T Detain
BEITBRIDGE 1 2 2 12 21 38
GWANDA 45 8 1 3 15 (S)26
(G)1 99
MATOBO 87 5 30 0 1872
(214) (S)384
(G)5 10 2 419

INSIZA 3 1 5 (S)3 12
BULAWAYO 6 28 4 10 106 (S)8 162
BULILIMAMANGWE 51 16 4 3 6 (S)22
(G)2 5 109
UMZIMGWANE 2 8 17 (S)3 30
BUBI (INYATHI) 21 2 23
NYAMANDLOVU 46 4 18 (S)61
(G)6 135
TSHOLOTSHO 621 148 494 268 0 (S)530
(By)9 138 2 446
LUPANE 275 41 58 2 158 (S)186
(By)1 6 774
NKAYI 117 24 5 116 (S)39
(G)8 309
HWANGE 5 1 7 (S)3 16
GOKWE 7 (S)1 8
GWERU 33 40 33 7 30 (S)103 246
KWEKWE 18 4 26 14 20 (S)22 104
UNKNOWN 46 27 5 63 (S)34
(G) 1 176
X Miss
M Prop
P Tort
T Detain
D Assault Rape TOTAL
GUTU 1 1
HARARE 10 2 1 7 (By)3 23
KADOMA 5 24 29
MASVINGO 2 23 25
BOTSWANA 1 2 10 (S)1 14

TOTALS 1437 354 680 366 2713 1537 159 7 246

[For year by year break down, see Tables II i - II vii, following]

X Mis s
M Prop
P Tort
T Detn
D Assault
By Rape
5 BRIGADE 1134 169 523 273 223 2 1284 128 5743
ARMY 116 39 39 18 26 67 19 324
CIO 24 81 5 51 256 46 2 465
CID 3 4 1 6 14
SUPP UNIT 4 4 5 2 3 18
ZRP 6 11 3 12 39 3 74
ZANU-PF YOUTH 29 73 63 165
PISI 1 4 20 4 29
ARMED MEN 5 1 11 17
DISSIDENTS 64 4 23 1 2 44 4 142
PERPETRATOR UNKNOWN 52 40 9 6 130 12 6 255
TOTALS 1437 354 680 366 271 3 1537 159 7 246
i) Perpetrators are recorded as perceived by interviewees: many could not clarify or did not mention which unit in the "Army" had committed a certain act.
ii) When perpetrator is perceived as "Police" or "ZRP" this could also mean one of several units, such as Special Constabulary, CID, Police Support Unit, PISI, or regular ZRP members.
iii) In the vast majority of `Detentions - Perpetrator unknown', government agencies can be assumed: in 1985 in particular, many men were taken from their beds at night by men from government vehicles: for one of many witnessed accounts of such a detention, see page YY . Also included in "Detentions - Perpetrator unknown" were many named detainees from Chikurubi, who were obviously detained by government agencies, but which precise agency is not on record.
iv) CIO often acted in conjunction with other agencies, such as PISI, and such cases have been recorded only under CIO, in order not to inflate apparent numbers of offences. This means other agencies were in fact more commonly implicated than would appear from the Table alone. The number of offences by the CIO is also dramatically underestimated in the table, because of the role CIO played at Bhalagwe Camp: both 5 Brigade and CIO tortured people here, but offences in Bhalagwe have been attributed to 5 Brigade only, again in order not to inflate apparent numbers of people tortured - those tortured at Bhalagwe by CIO run to hundreds if not thousands: see Matobo case study and Part Three, III.
v) "Armed men" could be either dissidents or government agencies.

i - 1982 ARMY 13 4 3 2 S:5
By:1 7 35
CIO 6 9 15
DISSIDENTS 16 1 8 3 28
1982 TOTALS 32 6 3 8 9 16 10 84

ii - 1983 5 BRIGADE 970 122 464 42 33 S:667
B 8
G:41 107
2 459

ARMY 39 8 16 8 14 S:23
G:1 1 110
CIO 2 8 3 12 4 29
CID 1 3 4
SUPP UNIT 1 3 3 1 8
DISSIDENTS 11 10 1 1 8 31
UNKNOWN 33 8 3 3 4 6 57
1983 TOTALS 1060 152 496 57 61 761 114 2701

iii - 1984 5 BRIGADE 157 39 59 21 1989 556 10 2 831
ARMY 32 10 8 5 7 14 76
CIO 6 9 1 1 18 3 38
SUPP UNIT 1 1 2 1 2 7
ZRP 2 2 1 1 6
ZANU-PF YOUTH 15 10 31 56
DISSIDENTS 15 2 1 4 1 23
UNKNOWN 1 7 7 3 18
1984 TOTALS 229 68 82 27 2024 616 11 3 057
iv - 1985 5 BRIGADE 5 7 210 210 7 11 450
ARMY 9 11 7 4 10 11 52
CIO 9 64 1 18 104 20 1 217
CID 2 1 1 6 10
ZRP 4 5 3 11 20 2 45
ZANU-PF YOUTH 14 63 32 109
PISI 2 13 4 19
DISSIDENTS 11 3 7 15 36
UNKNOWN 5 21 6 96 1 129
1985 TOTALS 63 112 87 242 453 93 23 1073

v - 1986 ARMY 1 1 1 1 S:4
CIO 1 18 89 17 1 126
ZRP 1 1 2
PISI 2 2
G:1 11
1986 TOTALS 5 2 4 20 93 31 1 156

vi - 1987 ARMY 1 1 2 2 6
CIO 6 3 5 21 2 37
ZRP 4 17 21
PISI 1 2 5 8
1987 TOTALS 12 6 5 7 43 10 83
vii YEAR
5 BRIGADE 2 1 3
ARMY 21 4 3 2 5 35
CIO 3 3
UNKNOWN 9 3 3 27 3 45
TOTALS 36 8 3 5 30 10 92


X Miss
M Prop
P Kidnap/
Detain Assault
As Rape
BEITBRIDGE 12 7 2 21
GWANDA 23 64 1(k) 1(d) 32 5 126
INSIZA 3 6 9
MATOBO 39 38 20(k) 5 102
BULILIMAMANGWE 26 49 4(k) 36 115
BULAWAYO 5 3 9 83(d) 2(k) 4 1 107
MAT NORTH 23 77(d) 100
NYAMANDLOVU 37 87 31(k) 16 171
TSHOLOTSHO 27 1 7 1(d)
8(k) 14 2 60
INYATHI (BUBI) 11 11 1 23
NKAYI 34 16 1(k) 4 2 57
LUPANE 20 76 1(d) 2 6 105
HWANGE 8 3 4 4 19
TOTALS (NORTH & SOUTH) 290 4 378 163(d)
67(k) 121 20 1043
GOKWE 5 5 2 12
KWEKWE 2 5 1 8
GWERU 25 7 3(d) 22 57
MBERENGWA 8 2 3 13
TOTALS 40 19 3(d) 28 90

X Missing
M Prop
P Kidnap
K Assault
As Rape
CHIPINGE 2 9 9 7 27
HARARE (SEKE) 1 1 6(d) 16 24
MAZOWE 4 1 5
UNKNOWN 3 1 5 9
TOTALS 34 16 16(k)
6(d) 32 1 105

TOTAL OFFENCES (all perpetrators) IN COUNTRY = 1238
X Property
P Kidnap
K Assault
AS Rape
1981 3 3 1 1 8
1982 60 185 1 67 2 315
1983 61 107 52 26 1 247
1984 29 4 8 16 6 63
1985 91 48 23 162
1986 9 21 15 45
1987 70 44 10 17 1 142
1988 1 12 1 14
TOTAL 323 413 83 166 11 996

X Missing
M Detained
D Assault
As Rape
1982 7 1 151 4 6 169
1983 18 3 15 10 4 50
1984 7 1 8
1985 9 6 9
TOTALS 41 4 172 15 10 242
There were NO REPORTS of property detroyed by government agencies, although `rioters' are acknowledged in 1985.
There were NO REPORTS of offences by any government agencies after 1985.


JAN 1983 - JAN 1984Released JAN 1984, but time span not clear:
120 murders 58 ZANU officials killed
284 robberies 61 civilians killed
25 mutilations 37 raped
47 rapes
JAN 1984 - JULY 1984No report on offences between July 1984 and Jan 1985
45 civilians killed
37 rapes
253 robberies
JAN 1985 - JULY 1985JULY 1985 - JAN 1986
45 killed103 killed
40 raped57 raped
215 robberies263 robberies

plus millions in property damage
116 civilians killed
57 raped
20 abducted
210 robberies, worth $47 000
TOTALS JAN1983 - DEC 1986 TOTALS JAN 1983 - DEC 1986
Killed: 429 Killed: 157
Prop loss:1225 Prop loss:174
Assaults: 25 mutilations Assaults:103
Rapes:238 Rapes:5
TOTAL:1917 TOTAL:439
NOTE: "Specific Reports" totals here are lower than for the "district by district" analysis because they exclude offences before January 1983 and after December 1986 to correspond with dates of General reports. Also excluded from "Specific Report" totals are those "dissident" offences which took place between Jan 1983 and Dec 1986 in other parts of the country: "General Reports" always refer to Matabeleland and Midlands only, so "Specific Reports" here do the same.
1982 1984
JUNE 1 killed JAN 1 killed
JULY Dissident numbers between 150 and 200 - Mugabe. 175 armed clashes since July 1983
1 killed, 1 captured FEB 459 killed or captured "since operations began"
AUG 3 killed, 2 injured MAR 41 killed since Jan
SEPT 300 ex-ZIPRAS have deserted the army - Sekeramayi. MAY 3 killed
OCT 77 demobbed ZIPRAS arrested - Kangai JUNE 5 killed
13 killed, 5 captured JULY 16 killed since Feb curfew
58 brought to trial
191 armed clashes
FEB Sekeramayi declines to give details of people killed: " a good number of dissidents and their collaborators have been killed." OCT
100+ killed in 1984
10 killed, 37 captured

17 ex ZIPRAS desert - Mugabe. DEC 3 killed
Nyoka refutes claims of atrocities and refuses to give a figure on deaths. 1985

MAR Mnangagwa denies harrassment of civilians and says the infrastructure supporting dissidents must be destroyed. JAN -
DEC 68 bandits killed in 1985 - Chief Supt T Gere
"Several" dissidents and army deserters arrested in Bulawayo. 1986
Sekeramayi calls stories of army atrocities "malicious". JAN -
DEC 45 dissidents killed, "specific reports" totalled.
10 dissidents killed.
APRIL Munyaradzi denies many civilians are seeking medical help. 1987
Locals are reported to be capturing and killing dissidents. JAN -
DEC 31 dissidents killed, "specific reports" totalled. UNITY - Dec
8 killed
AUG 4 killed 1988
OCT 3 killed, 1 injured FEB 2 killed, 122 surrender
The figures represented in tables above, are here graphed to highlight certain trends. Tables have been graphed to show distribution of offences by district, by perpetrator, and by district and perpetrator together. The different categories of offence have also been extracted and graphed over time. "Perpetrator" is always as recorded in archival data, or as alleged by interviewees.
Figures currently in the HR Data Base must be viewed as the known minimum number of victims in listed districts . These numbers of victims can only grow as more evidence comes to light. While the Data Base is far from comprehensive, it will be noted from the graphs that certain trends are nonetheless clearly apparent. The offences on file, their alleged perpetrators, and the years in which certain offences lie grouped, confirm the general claims made in the earlier parts of this report.
In addition, there is now the evidence from the case study areas, showing how dramatically figures rise when data is actively sought. In all other areas, data is archival, and not comprehensive even in the assessment of archival sources, in that numbers of victims indicated by archival material were not included on the HR Data Base, in order to prevent counting victims twice, once with and once without a name.
The numbers of offences listed in the HR Data Base are therefore the MOST CONSERVATIVE figures possible to consider at this stage. For a brief examination of how it might be possible to use our knowledge from the case study areas, together with HR Data Base figures and our general knowledge at this stage, to arrive at a truer picture of the scale of the disturbances, see the final section of this discussion.
NAMED VICTIMS: Report compilers discussed the possibility of including at the back of this report, a list of NAMED DEAD. Human rights reports have opted to do this in recent years. The permission of surviving family members would ethically be needed in order to list the dead. However, many names on file are archival with no clear postal address for surviving family members now known.The interview form used in the 1990s also did not have on it a request for permission to publish names. While postal addresses for those interviewed in the 1990s are available, the logistics of sending out a request to publish names, and waiting for responses would be enormous. In some cases, where four or more sources confirm the name of a certain dead or missing person, several variations of how precisely the name is spelt may be given. Authenticating correct spelling is another problem that would have been faced if seeking family permission had been decided on as a course of action.
The compilers of this report also believe that it is still necessary to protect their sources in every way possible.There is therefore no list of the dead, nor are any victims named in this report, apart from those who held high political office. Victims are referred to by their HR Data base number, or CCJP archival file, only. The original report contained a number of maps and tables at this point which were not made available to The New Zimbabwe.
The figures in the HR Data Base are clearly a base-line set of figures which can only grow in the future. Only one district in Zimbabwe was fairly comprehensively researched for this report - namely Tsholotsho. In addition, a pilot study was conducted in Matobo. Both of these studies resulted in a dramatic increase in existing knowledge of how events unfolded in these two regions in the 1980s, and both extended the named data base considerably, and allowed the incorporation of numbered victims. Numbered victims are generally excluded from all other districts.
What was also noticeable in Tsholotsho was how the gap between numbered and named victims closed as interviewing progressed, and a larger proportion of named as opposed to numbered victims began to be reported.
The lower levels of offences evident in the other districts in Zimbabwe reflect the fact that extensive research has not been done in these regions, rather than reflecting that these districts were not severely affected by events.
While the compilers of this report do not claim to have any final answers in terms of real numbers of victims in the various categories of offence, some cautious suggestions can be made. The basis of these suggestions will be discussed separately for each category of offence, with a clear difference being maintained between what may certainly be known at this stage, and what may further be supposed.
The HR Data Base has the following figures, for named victims:
To this can be added a minimum of 130 Tsholotsho dead and missing and a minimum of 133 Matobo dead and missing which became apparent when the `village by village' summaries were collated.
This brings the definitely confirmed dead to 2052.
Deaths in Non-Case Study Areas in Matabeleland North: independent researchers in Lupane and Nkayi who have done extensive interviews for a different purpose in these regions in recent years, suggested that approximately 1300 dead would be a fair estimate for these two regions combined. Their intention was not specifically to "count the dead" in these regions, and they have not collected names. Their estimates are based on ward by ward estimates given to them by councillors in the general course of their interviews on other topics, but they feel these estimates are, if anything, conservative, and exclude the missing.
As this estimate was put forward by researchers of proven integrity with a known understanding of events in these districts, and no possible motive for exaggeration or misrepresentation, it seems fair to consider including it in an estimate: this would add another 1000 to the figure for the dead, bringing it to around 3000+.
There is little known about deaths in other regions in Matabeleland North, although indications are that they were considerably less affected by 5 Brigade than Tsholotsho, Lupane and Nkayi. No comment or estimate will therefore be made about these regions.
Deaths in Matabeleland South: it has already been commented that the pilot study in Matobo, which was far from comprehensive, resulted in a five-fold increase in the numbers of dead and missing. Yet prior to the case study, the named dead for Gwanda, Matobo and Bulilimamangwe were all in the range of 40-50. Judging from the CCJP archives and paralegal information, which is the only current source of data on Gwanda and Bulilimamangwe, these two districts were as severely hit in 1984 as Matobo. There are on archival files evidence of mass murders, mass graves, mass beatings and mass detentions in these two districts. We can also assume that the figure of 220 dead in Matobo is conservative, as interviewing here was limited.
In addition, there are the many eye witness accounts of Bhalagwe on file. These include both archival accounts and those recorded in the last few months. All are very consistent in referring to daily deaths at Bhalagwe. From mid-February, villagers adjacent to Antelope Mine also refer to nightly trips by trucks to the mine shaft, followed by the disposal of bodies and the throwing of grenades in afterwards.
There was a change in strategy on the part of 5 Brigade in 1984. They had apparently realised in 1983 that it was not possible to kill hundreds of well known people in front of hundreds of witnesses in their home villages, and expect the fact to remain hidden. In 1984, the new strategy of translocating many thousands of civilians and grouping them at Bhalagwe, where everyone effectively became strangers, has made it much harder now to identify either exact numbers or names of the dead. Most detainees did not know the names of those they were detained with. People can also not remember exact dates on which they witnessed a certain number of people beaten to death or shot, so it is not possible to sort out eye witness accounts in a way that prevents double counting of deaths.
One solution for those who wish to arrive at some idea of how many might have died at Bhalagwe, is to estimate 5 deaths a day, multiplied by 100 days, (Feb to May) and to decide that approximately 500 died at Bhalagwe. 5 deaths a day might well be too conservative, however. The real number could be anything between 300 and 1000.... The inability to arrive at more accurate figures at this stage is a testimony to the effectiveness of the 1984 strategy in keeping deaths anonymous. For example, one person interviewed, who was 16 years old when incarcerated at Bhalagwe, recounted how he personally helped dig the graves and helped carry and bury the corpses of 9 men, 7 of whom had been beaten to death and 2 of whom had been shot. He did not know the name of a single one of these 9 victims, nor could he say exactly how many others had died during the 10 days he was there, except to say that they were "very many". These dead were from all over Matabeleland South, and some were from Matabeleland North: only extensive interviewing in all districts will help resolve the issue of how many died at Bhalagwe.
Other evidence on the archives for Gwanda and Bulilimamangwe states that there are mass graves in both districts, mainly from 1984, but in the case of Bulilimamangwe, also from 1983, when parts of this district were adjacent to the curfew zone and affected by 5 Brigade in Matabeleland North. Judging by the pilot study in Matobo, it seems fair to estimate at least several hundred deaths in each district. Only extensive further research will come up with more accurate figures.
In the rest of Matabeleland South, including Beitbridge, deaths also occurred, although in smaller numbers. No comment or estimate will be made on these.
Those who are concerned about putting a precise figure on the dead in Matabeleland South could choose a number between 500 and 1000, and be certain that they are not exaggerating.
Deaths in the Midlands: named and numbered dead and missing for the Midlands, suggest Gweru was worst hit with around 70-80 deaths, with deaths and missing for the whole Province currently standing at a conservative 100. Archival figures for unnamed victims suggest several hundred more deaths and disappearances - no more accurate suggestion can be made than this, without extensive further research.
Deaths According to The Chronicle: While it seems reasonable in the face of conflicting reports to disregard the "General Report" claims in respect of dissident offences, the "Specific Report" figures have been borne out in part. Even this statement is not made without qualification: there were several occasions where recent interview data convincingly attributed offences to the army or CIO when The Chronicle attributed these offences to dissidents. However, in Tsholotsho, while the route to the final number may have differed, figures arrived at in interview data and in The Chronicle were fairly close in terms of how many people were specifically killed by dissidents. In addition, there are some murders that can be uncontentiously attributed to dissidents in the non-case-study districts, and which have not been taken into estimate yet, including the deaths of commercial farmers.
The Chronicle may therefore be conservatively assumed to provide support for the deaths of at least 100 to 150 people at the hands of dissidents, which have not been factored in elsewhere.
FINAL ESTIMATE: The figure for the dead and missing is not less than 3000. This statement is now beyond reasonable doubt. Adding up the conservative suggestions made above, the figure is reasonably certainly 3750 dead. More than that it is still not possible to say, except to allow that the real figure for the dead could be possibly double 3000, or even higher. Only further research will resolve the issue.

The number of dead is always the issue in which there is the most interest, wherever in the world human rights offences are perpetrated. While such a focus is understandable, it should not be considered the only category of offence to give an indication of the scale of a period of disturbance. From the point of view of this report, compilers are concerned with the plight of those still alive. Of course, the loss of a breadwinner compounds the plight for his/her survivors, and in this way the number of dead from the 1980s indicates the number of families having to survive without financial assistance from able-bodied husbands, wives and children. But many other families who perhaps suffered no deaths were left with permanent health or emotional problems which, a decade later, have compounded seriously on their families in monetary and social terms.
The HR Data Base currently has on record 680 homesteads destroyed. A reading of the "village by village" summary of Tsholotsho will confirm that this figure is conservative. Researchers in Lupane and Nkayi have also referred to hut burnings, and the burnings of entire villages, particularly in Lupane. What this means in terms of final figures is hard to say: therefore no estimate will be made.
Properties were also destroyed in Matabeleland South which are not yet formally recorded, and the ZANU-PF Youth riots affecting the Midlands in 1985, and the property destruction resulting from this has been documented, for example in LCFHR. Readers of the report should therefore bear in mind that the figure of 680 homesteads destroyed is far from complete.
In addition, there was the damage caused by dissidents. The Chronicle reports a multitude of bus burnings and the destruction of dam and road building equipment. Cooperative ventures were also destroyed on occasion, and commercial farmers had livestock shot and property destroyed. Again, to try to assess this now in precise monetary terms would be a complicated and somewhat arbitrary procedure. The section following (Part Three, II) on legal damages attempts to make this sort of assessment on ten specific cases only, to illustrate how such damage might be assessed.
Perhaps the most significant type of "property loss" to those in affected regions, is the fact that throughout the 1980s, when the government was investing in development projects in other parts of the country, Matabeleland was losing out, on the true premise that the disturbances made development difficult.

Possible numbers of detainees are also very difficult to assess at this stage. Some attempt was made in the case study on Matobo to estimate a figure for those detained at Bhalagwe. Based on an average stay of two weeks, and an average holding capacity of 2000, it was assumed that any number of civilians between 8000 and double this figure could have passed through Bhalagwe. As some reports put the holding capacity at considerably higher than 2000 at its peak, this assumption does not seem unreasonable, but it is an assumption nonetheless.
Apart from Bhalagwe, both documents on file and lists of named victims in Chikurubi in 1985 suggest certainly hundreds and likely thousands of detainees over the period from 1982 to 1987. The detention centres at St Pauls in Lupane and in Tsholotsho operated from mid 1982, and certainly hundreds were detained in 1982 alone. Africa Confidential refers to 700 detained at Tsholotsho in 1982, and St Paul's detention centre was also large. There are also reference to 1000 detained in Bulawayo in March 1983.
In 1985 and 1986 there were further detentions, both before and after the general elections. Elected ZAPU officials were picked up in rural areas, and hundreds were detained in urban centres too. LCFHR refers to 1300 detained in Bulawayo in early 1985 and 400+ detained in Bulawayo in August 1985. There are official documents signed by police confirming large numbers of detainees. For example, CCJP wrote to Nkayi Police station inquiring about the whereabouts of a certain man who had been detained. The police wrote back saying they had detained 80 people that day in Nkayi, and most had been subsequently released. They had no record of this particular man.
Again, there is no easy formula for arriving at a figure for detainees. It seems reasonable to assume at least 10 000 were detained, some for a few days and some for far longer, between 1982 and 1987. This is an assumption based on what is known now of the general unfolding of events, and the holding capacities of various detention centres.

Named torture victims, inclusive of those assaulted, stand at around 2000.
In addition to these named victims, the Tsholotsho case study identified 70 villages involved in mass beatings, and 4 mass beatings at railway sidings. The Matobo case study identified another 25 mass beatings.
This is a total of 99 known mass beatings. A figure of 50 per mass beating was decided on as reasonable (see Part One, II), which would mean 4950 further assault victims.
This puts the total number of those fairly definitely known to have been physically tortured at around 7000.
Mass beatings were also a definite phenomenon of 5 Brigade behaviour in Lupane and Nkayi in Matabeleland North, and Silobela in the Midlands, as well as in Bulilimamangwe and Gwanda in Matabeleland South, but no estimate will be placed on how many people this may have affected.
In addition, reports of Bhalagwe make it clear that detention here was synonymous with beatings, usually daily. Physical torture of one kind or another was almost mandatory, not only at Bhalagwe but in all detention centres and jails.
Several thousand more beating victims could therefore safely be assumed, but precisely how many remains to be established.

The above estimates are offered merely as estimates. A careful reading of the Historical Overview will make it clear that the evidence on record supports the general claims being made here in terms of likely numbers of victims, and will in fact suggest that these claims are conservative. But only further comprehensive research will establish more accurate numbers for all categories of offence.
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


Interviews with civilians resident in Matabeleland North and South made it clear not only that there are mass graves in these parts of Zimbabwe as a result of the 1980s disturbances, but also that this is an issue of concern to residents and affected families. It is also known that there are likely to be unrecovered bodies in the Midlands.
The full nature and causes of the disturbances have been covered elsewhere in this report. This section will therefore concentrate on the likely types of human remains at this point and in how best to deal with them.








In this report, people are referred to as "Dead" if their deaths were witnessed. In most cases in Matabeleland North, this also means that what happened to their remains is known, even if all that is known is that the bodies were taken away on trucks. While the current location of the remains of the "Dead" is often known in Matabeleland North, this is less often the case in Matabeleland South.
"Missing" refers in most cases to people who were known to have been taken from their homes at night in mysterious circumstances, or known to have been detained, and never seen again. (See interview , page for an example). There is no indication in these cases as to where bodies might now be.
As the vast majority of victims can be classified as "Dead" rather than "Missing", the possibility of identifying and rcovering human remains for many victims is positive. In this Zimbabwe is more "fortunate" than for example Argentina, where approximately 10 000 disappeared, or Guatemala, where 50 000 people disappeared in recent decades.
The recovery and identification of those who died in the 1980s might also be more easily accomplished than for those who died in the 1970s civil war in what was then Rhodesia, as many of these victims went missing outside of the country, or were killed and buried in regions in Zimbabwe far from their own districts. In spite of the difficulties, many victims of the 1970s war have been successfully recovered and reburied in the years since independence, and the reburial exercise continues. The establishing of a pre-mortem data base on all "Missing" victims, containing as much physical information on each victim as possible, would dramatically improve chances of identification. The structure of the computer data base currently used in Argentina could be adapted to the Zimbabwean situation.

Murders in the 1980s were perpetrated by both government agencies and dissidents. The case studies in Part Two illustrate that approximately 98% of deaths and disappearances in the communal lands were at the hands of government agencies, and 2% were murders by dissidents. In Tsholotsho, for example, 18 murders by dissidents were claimed by civilians, while a further 900+ deaths and disappearances, mainly perpetrated by 5 Brigade were identified, most occurring in February 1983. In addition to murders in communal lands, dissidents murdered people living in the sparsely populated commercial farming areas. Approximately 70 deaths in these regions were at the hands of dissidents, not government agencies.
Dissidents would typically murder one or two civilians in the communal lands in any one incident, almost invariably people they believed to be sell-outs. The victims would be murdered and the dissidents would then make a hasty departure before the authorities arrived. This meant that families of victims were able to give their deceased traditional burials.
Other dissident victims were typically commercial farmers and their families or employees, who would also be murdered in hit and run raids or ambushes. These victims too would be left behind and were accorded proper funerals. There are a few notable exceptions here, namely the six tourists who were abducted and buried in shallow graves, in July 1982. There was also an abduction of two commercial farmers in Bubi, one of whose remains were only recovered years later. Such cases of abduction were not common. In both these cases, remains were ultimately recovered and identified.
Those in mass graves, and those who were not given decent burials are the civilians killed by state agencies, in particular the 5 Brigade. Part Two, III, indicates 1437 killings and 354 disappearances in which the names of victims are known. Of these, 1134 deaths and 169 disappearances were by 5 Brigade.
These figures are known by researchers to be incomplete, with substantial indications on record of large numbers of dead in areas not extensively researched for this report, in particular in Lupane and Nkayi, where mass graves and bodies in mine shafts have been reported. Matabeleland South, including Matobo, Gwanda and Bulilimamangwe also have mass graves and reports of bodies down mine shafts.

It has been previously stated in this report that it was a characteristic of 5 Brigade to insist that there was no mourning for the dead. In some cases the family of the dead victims were themselves shot because they wept. It was also characteristic, particularly of the early weeks of 1983, for victims to be buried in mass graves. In some cases, 5 Brigade would shoot people and pass on with no concern for what happened to the dead, and in these cases, families were able to bury their own dead, although full burial rites and full attendance by family members were not possible because of the prevailing conditions in those weeks.
This part of the report will concern itself with cases in which no proper burial took place. The way in which bodies were disposed of in such cases can be categorised as follows:
1.Bodies left where they were killed and burial forbidden.
2.Bodies buried in mass or individual graves in villages but not in the culturally accepted place or manner.
3.Bodies left inside huts in cases where people were burnt to death in huts.
4.Bodies buried in mass or individual graves at 5 Brigade camps.
5.Bodies dumped into mine shafts.
1. Burial denied: in Lupane in particular, but also in parts of Tsholotsho (see Pumula Mission section), burial was on occasion forbidden, and relatives of the dead were reportedly forced to observe the remains of their dead rotting away and being scavenged. In these cases, bones were sometimes buried months or years later, and in other cases, bones were removed by the 5 Brigade, who came past in trucks and collected them. In cases where bones were removed by 5 Brigade, chances of recovery now are almost non-existent.
2. Mass graves: there are reports of mass graves throughout most of Matabeleland North and South. Compilers of this report personally visited a few such sites. Photographs and video clippings also exist of these graves. What is notable is the careful way in which these graves have been demarcated by civilians in the area: they have often been fenced off with logs, or covered with boulders. In some cases most or all of the actual victims in a grave are still known to those in the area, and in other cases, those buried were strangers to the area, and are completely unknown. In most cases, victims in mass graves were shot dead.
If it was the will of affected communities, relatives of the deceased and the authorities, such graves would provide ideal sites for forensic investigations. The possiblity of identifying at least some, or even all, of the victims in such cases would be extremely high. It would also be likely that cause of death could be established.
3. People buried under huts: there are several incidents of people burnt to death in huts in Tsholotsho, and also reports that this happened in Lupane. In Tsholotsho, there are on record, nine cases where people were burnt to death in huts (see Pumula Mission section). Numbers of victims ranged from 1 to 30, with at least two villages experiencing hut burnings involving large numbers of people. These bodies were not removed from the huts, but were given a makeshift burial where they lay, with soil being mounded over the remains, and the area then being fenced. It is not clear how many hut burnings resulting in deaths happened in Lupane, although at least two are on current records.
If it was the will of affected communities, relatives of the deceased and the authorities, these hut sites would also provide ideal cases for forensic investigation, although cause of death can be harder to establish in the case of burnings (See "cause of death" following).
4. Graves in 5 Brigade camps: those detained at Bhalagwe in Matobo, report the existence of burial grounds within the camp. Ex-detainees, particularly from the early weeks, report the daily digging of graves as one of their chores. Almost every interview about Bhalagwe alludes to daily deaths in the camp, as a result of beatings or shootings. Who victims were is not clear, or exact numbers (see previous discussion on page for more details). However, it seems clear that some, if not all, of the graves at Bhalagwe were dug up and the bodies removed, while the camp was still in operation. The policy of disposing of bodies changed, or became supplemented within a few weeks, with the throwing of bodies down mine shafts. Visits to Bhalagwe in November of 1996 showed the grave sites to have been dug up, although the position of the graves is still clearly visible. Eye witnesses involved in the burial procedure recount how at the time of burial, bodies were covered with asbestos sheeting before the soil was added, and then further sheeting demarcated the graves clearly. Pieces of this sheeting are still in the now-empty graves (see photo, page ). This could suggest that the graves were only ever intended as a temporary measure, and were designed in such a way as to facilitate later identification of the sites and removal of the bodies. Certainly, the use of the asbestos sheeting is not a normal burial procedure in Zimbabwe, nor was it used in Matabeleland North, where people had been murdered by 5 Brigade the previous year.
5. Mine Shafts: there are reports of human remains in mine shafts in both Matabeleland North and South, though these are more common in Matabeleland South where such shafts abound. In two iThose interviewed in Matabeleland South also mentioned Legion Mine, near Sun Yet Sen in the far south of Matobo, as a possible site for the dumping of bodies. Sun Yet Sen was used as an interrogation and detention centre by 5 Brigade in 1983 and 1984.
"Old Hat Mine": bones were found here in 1992, and CCJP attended their exhumation. Unfortunately, this was not done by forensic anthropologists, and the bones were disturbed by the police, thus destroying potential evidence. The identification of 8 individuals was possible, 2 women and 6 men, but their precise identification was not possible.
Bodies are known to have been thrown down mine shafts in the 1970s, by the Rhodesian army, and the first response of the government to finds in the 1990s was that these were Rhodesian victims. However, coins minted post-Independence and found in the pockets of the deceased, dated the remains in Antelope Mine to the 1980s.
It is unlikely that positive identification of particular victims would be possible if bones were exhumed from mine shafts. This is a consequence of the fact that so little is known about precisely who was dumped into particular shafts. However, such exhumation could be important in terms of validating historical claims. Evidence of peri-mortem trauma (ie trauma at point of death) might be detectable on the remains. Items such as coins could also help date time of dumping. It is not unlikely that any extensive exploration of mine shafts would also result in the exhumation of victims from the 1970s, although again, precise identification of victims would be difficult.

There seem to be regional differences in body disposal between Matabeleland North and South. In 1983, killings in Matabeleland North were more open and the repression was generally more visible, but in 1984 in Matabeleland South the modus operandi became more clandestine, with victims more frequently dying in 5 brigade camps than in the village setting. There were also fewer killings in 1984.
The disposal of bodies seems to reflect this change in strategy. In 1983 in Matabeleland North, bodies were more commonly disposed of in individual or mass graves in or near villages, or inside burnt huts. At the end of 1983 and in 1984 in Matabeleland South, bodies were disposed of in mine shafts and mass graves located inside 5 Brigade camps, in particular at Bhalagwe, but also at Sitezi and other bases.
The change in body disposal suggests that the 5 Brigade modus operandi deliberately became more secretive in 1984 than it had been in 1983, particularly where killings were concerned. This change in strategy might have been related to growing pressure from local and international press and human rights groups, including from CCJP who were operating within the country, and had made several appeals to government by this stage. This observation might be modified in the light of future evidence.
To summarise the regional differences:
1."Burials forbidden" is reported to date only in Matabeleland North.
2."Mass graves" in village settings are reported in all districts, but are more common in Matabeleland North.
3."Hut burnings" resulting in deaths have to date only been reported in Matabeleland North, mainly from western Tsholotsho and Lupane.
4."Deaths in 5 Brigade Camps" are reported in all areas, but in Matabeleland North such deaths are not common: method of disposal in Matabeleland North is also not clear. In Matabeleland South, deaths and temporary burials mainly at Bhalagwe and also at camps in Gwanda and Bulilimamangwe are reported.
5."Mine shaft disposal" is reported mainly in Matabeleland South, but there are also reports of this in Matabeleland North.

- Exhumation assists the relatives of the victims in their right to recover the remains of their dead or missing loved ones, so that they can carry out the customary funeral rights and mourn their dead. Families and affected communities may see the procedure of identification of their dead, or even the willingness to attempt this, as a necessary step towards their own emotional healing.
- Exhumation can provide physical evidence to help in the historical reconstruction of events, and to validate one version of events over another. Forensic investigations can end historical controversies.-
The evidence can be used in court if necessary.
National awareness and acknowledgement of events would follow revelations from the exhumations, which could further help the process of healing for survivors.
1. Cause Of Death: forensic anthropologists only deal with skeletal remains. Therefore, if the cause of death did not affect the skeleton, then there is no way of establishing the cause of death with certainty.
For example, in cases of hut burnings, it may well be that not all, or even none, of the skeletons will show signs of burning. However, some hut burnings were allegedly accompanied by shooting of victims trying to escape, in which case there might be skeletal evidence of bullet wounds. There will also be circumstantial evidence, such as testimonial evidence and the finding of burned elements associated with the remains, such as charred clothing.
Fatal gunshot wounds are likely to involve human bones, particularly shots to the head or thorassic regions, which is where fatal gun shot wounds are typically found. However, shots to the abdominal region will not necessarily cause skeletal damage, and can cause death.
2. Identification of Human Remains: the process of identification of victims is a physical one. Physical or `pre-mortem' information about the victims when they were alive (such as height, age, dental records) and `peri-mortem' information relating to the time of their death obtained from those who witnessed their death, can be compared with exhumed skeletal remains. For example, if a certain person was witnessed to die from a shot to a particular part of the body, and a skeleton shows corresponding damage, this helps differentiate this victim's skeleton from others in the same grave.
In cases where there are no existing dental records for victims, and no witnesses to help with precise causes of death, it is very difficult to identify bodies. Bodies exhumed from 5 Brigade camps and bodies from mine shafts would have a poor chance of positive identification, as there are no witnesses who can say with certainty who was buried where.
In the case of bodies in mass graves and burnt huts, the prospect of identification is high, as names of victims are largely known already, and deaths were witnessed. There should be good peri mortem or circumstantial evidence to confirm cause of deaths.

Forensic sciences are a group of interrelated disciplines which utilise different scientific methods to analyse physical evidence related to legal cases. When working on legal cases involving skeletal remains forensic anthropology is among the main disciplines involved. Considering the time elapsed and the condition of burial sites recently observed, forensic investigation could be useful in Zimbabwe.
Forensic anthropology consists in the application of methods and techniques from physical anthropology and forensic medicine to legal cases in which skeletal or mainly skeletonised remains are involved. It is considered a branch of physical anthropology. The physical anthropologist applies his/her knowledge about how bodies vary over time and place to a legal or forensic context. There are several other disciplines involved in this task. In order to recover the remains in the proper way, the use of forensic archeology is crucial. This simply consists of the "application of standard archeological techniques slightly modified to meet the requirements of crime scene processing where a skeleton(s) or buried body(ies) is present." Other skills involved are: forensic pathology, odontology, ballistics, radiology and genetics, among others.
The use of forensic anthropology in the investigation of human rights violations started in Argentina in 1984. Argentina returned to democracy in December 1983. The newly elected President Dr. Raul Alfonsin, created the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP). The Commission established that at least 10 000 people had been disappeared under the previous military regime (1976-1983). Bodies had been dumped from aeroplanes into the sea, illegally cremated or buried in anonymous graves in cemetries.
In order to ensure impartiality and expertise, a group of American forensic scientists under the leadership of Dr. Clyde Snow was assembled, and several forensic teams in South America were trained over the next ten years. These are the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Team, the Chilean Forensic Anthropology Team and the Argentinian Forensic Team. In the USA, the Physicians for Human Rights and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) continue to promote and assemble teams of experts for specific missions. They work internationally in interdisciplinary teams, as expert witnesses or international consultants invited by local judiciaries, or by intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations War Tribunals and the United Nations Commissions of Inquiry, to help resolve human rights issues. These teams of forensic anthropologists are all non governmental and non-profit making.
Since 1984, forensic anthropology has been used in investigations in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, The Philippines, Iraqi Kurdistan, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
1. Preliminary Investigation:
i) This involves the gathering of historical information about the case under investigation, including official records, eye witness accounts etc.
ii) Pre-mortem data collection: collection of physical information about victims, such as medical and dental records, old X-rays, height etc. Peri-mortem information is also gathered, that is information on injuries sustained at the time of death.
2. Archeological Work:
The archeological approach provides a rational way to recover and reconstruct events, ensuring evidence is not damaged, recovery is complete, and that documentation is adequate.
3.Laboratory Analysis:
Using techniques from physical anthropology and medicine, it is possible to establish stature, sex, age at death, ancestry, pathologies and lesions, dental features etc of the exhumed skeletal remains.
Pre-mortem and peri-mortem data is then compared with skeletal remains to try to establish their identities. In countries where the affected populations are largely poor with little access to medical and dental check up and where there is therefore little pre-mortem data, new genetic methods involving the extraction of DNA material from remains and comparing them with DNA material from likely relatives can help identify victims.

1.The Will of Affected Communities: it is essential that no steps be taken without consultation with communities and relatives of the deceased. Some may wish for exhumation, while in adjacent areas, others may not, for cultural or personal reasons.
2.Judicial Proceedings: Exhumations should be done through the intervention of judges in order to keep a legal record of the proceedings and findings, even in situations where no legal prosecutions are to follow on findings (such as in Zimbabwe).
3.Exhumations must be professionally done: There are teams of forensic anthropologists and organisations around the world who are expert at this type of work. They have accomplished successful exhumations in several Latin American countries, and also in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Rwanda, among other places.
3.A short exploratory mission: a first mission by an international forensic team, lasting two or three months, would ideally include different types of cases to fit the categories of human remains listed above. For example, one burnt hut and one mass grave could each be excavated. A mine shaft identified as having a high likelihood of remains could be excavated, and a 5 Brigade camp could be examined.
4.Depository for Human Remains: in cases where exhumed remains are not identified:
a.)establish a general data base in the hope that identification might ultimately be possible, and keep the remains available at a specific centre and under control.
b.)if it is not possible to keep remains unburied, do not rebury underground, but keep them in an above-ground sepulchre, so that remains will not be affected by the organic activity of the soil. If this is not possible, due to economic or cultural constraints, remains should be reburied in the hardest possible container so that they could be retrieved and re analysed if necessary.
6.Protection of the sites: sites should be protected from tampering. Those living close to sites should know who to inform if there is a sudden interest in them.
7.Establishment of a Symbolic Shrine: the existence of a place where the remains of missing or disappeared or unidentified people are buried or commemmorated has a symbolic value in many countries. Relatives of victims often express the strong need to have a place where they can remember their loved ones, pray, or follow other cultural practices of mourning. Communities in Zimbabwe may - or may not - decide after consultation that they would like to establish such a shrine, or shrines.

The establishment of such public places has, in other countries, implied a social and national recognition of what happened: in Zimbabwe, the current clandestine or "abandoned" graves do not allow for this. The lack of broader acknowledgement is apparently a source of deep disturbance for the relatives and witnesses of the tragic events.
Such a shrine would break the secrecy. The unspeakable, currently limited to secret memories, would be brought out into the realm of historical and social reality.
In summary, the process of exhuming and identifying human remains is one that should aim to show a respectful acknowledgement of events, and to commemmorate the suffering of the survivors. The process also serves as a testimony to other sectors of the population and is a reminder to future generations. The suffering of victims and survivors should also be placed in a broader social and historical arena.
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


1. Archival Data - The Chronicle, including quantification of dissident atrocities
2. Data Integration Data Integration - CCJP Archives and Interviews in 1995-6
3. Summary of 5 Brigade Impact on Tsholotsho
4.Overview of Human Rights Abuses, Nyamandlovu/ Tsholotsho
5. Village by village summary of events, incorporating maps of sub-regions
1.)Pumula Mission - western Tsholotsho
2.)Mbamba Camp - southern Tsholotsho
3.)Central Tsholotsho
4.)Northern Tsholotsho
5.)Commercial farms in the south
6.)Commercials farms, forestry and resettlement in the east.
6.Table summarising atrocities by sub-region
Data Sources and Methodology in Part One deals in detail with the data collection and collation process in the 2 case study areas. To summarise, data used consists of archival CCJP material, information extracted from the media, academic studies, and interviews conducted in the 1990s. All of these sources are archival, apart from the interviews: these latter serve to illustrate not only the past, but current perceptions of the past and current consequences of past events.







A summary of events specifically in Nyamandlovu/Tsholotsho), as revealed by The Chronicle, Bulawayo's daily newspaper, is given here. This tends to highlight dissident activity, and is a useful counterpoint to data from other sources.
FEBThe second outburst of fighting between ZIPRA and ZANLA forces spills over into Nyamandlovu, where army units loyal to the Government intercept columns of ZIPRA troops heading for Bulawayo from Gwayi in the north.
APRTwo people are shot dead near Khami, and a third is injured, by "armed men".
17 MAYA Nyamandlovu farmer is ambushed by dissidents and sustains a gun-shot wound. Two days later a lorry driver is shot and killed near Godzo, in Tsholotsho. In the same month, a farmer's wife drives through a dissident ambush but is not injured.
JUN Dissidents rob a bus, a beer garden and 4 stores in Nyamandlovu. They also burn out 2 resettled villages in Nyamandlovu, leaving 75 families homeless. "One woman" is also killed.
4 JULThe manager of Grant's Sawmills, Nyamandlovu, is shot at by dissidents - no injury.
13 JULA police auxiliary constable is shot and injured at Hillmiles store.
23 JULA local farmer drives through an ambush at the 76 km peg on the Victoria Falls road (in Nyamandlovu), does not stop and sustains no injury - perpetrators, dissidents.
23 JULSix foreign tourists stop when ambushed at the 76 km peg on the Bulawayo Victoria Falls road, in Nyamandlovu, and are abducted.
AUG2 mine-workers are shot dead 20 km north of Bulawayo. 7 off-duty soldiers are lined up against a wall in Ngoma beerhall, Nyamandlovu, and are bayonetted: 5 die and 8 are wounded - by dissidents. Three buses are robbed, and so are "stores", all in Nyamandlovu.
4 SEP2 Swiss tourists witness a shoot out between security forces and dissidents, 90 km north of Bulawayo.
A curfew is imposed on Northern Matabeleland, banning buses and private vehicles in the communal areas, and banning reporters.
OCTDissidents rob a bus in Nyamandlovu.
DEC There are several incidents involving dissidents. In Tsholotsho, Z$2 million of Government equipment is destroyed. In Nyamandlovu, 6 people including 2 children are shot dead in a farm ambush, on 31 December. One unnamed villager and 2 named villagers are also reported murdered by dissidents in Nyamandlovu.
6 JANThe Government agrees to allow farmers to re-arm, to protect themselves against dissidents. They had all surrendered their weapons at Independence.
26 JANStringent curfew regulations are introduced: at the same time, 5 Brigade is deployed into the region, and begins to work its way northwards, through Tsholotsho, into Lupane and Nkayi.
MARAn elderly commercial farming couple and their 2 young grand-daughters are brutally beaten and then shot by dissidents on their farm in Nyamandlovu.
5 APRThe curfew is lifted. There are repeated ZANU-PF rallies in Matabeleland in February, March and April at which people are warned not to support PF ZAPU, and dissidents are paraded, declaring their PF-ZAPU allegiance. More than 20 000 PF-ZAPU supporters surrender their cards and join ZANU-PF.
MAYA forestry commission ranger is murdered and another abducted by dissidents in Chesa Forest Area, Nyamandlovu.
JUN 30 youths in Nyamandlovu are reported abducted by dissidents, and are rescued.
NOV2 men are reported murdered by dissidents in Nyamandlovu.
JUN 20 dissidents kill one person and beat others, in Tsholotsho
SEPAn unnamed boy is reported as being killed by dissidents, another as kidnapped, while unnamed, unnumbered "workers" are beaten and property burnt, in Nyamandlovu.
OCTInquest into the murder in Feb 1983 of 2 men and 2 women, whose car was stopped on the Bulawayo - Victoria Falls road by four 5 Brigade soldiers. The inquest finds them reponsible for "exceedingly cruel" murder. (LCFHR p 40)
NOV Jini Ntuta, ZAPU MP, is reported murdered by dissidents. Other sources later attribute his murder to CIO (LCFHR, BLPC interview).
MAROne woman is reported murdered and 9 injured, by dissidents
JULDissidents burn a bus in Nyamandlovu.
SEPDissidents burn out a school complex, and kill one person, in Nyamandlovu.
OCTA commercial farming couple and their foreman are shot and killed by dissidents. Dissidents also kill 3 villagers and 4 Zanu-PF party officials in Tsholotsho
There are no press reported incidents involving dissidents/armed men/ bandits specifically designated as occurring anywhere in Matabeleland North, including Nyamandlovu, in 1986.
JUN2 German tourists are shot and killed in Nyamandlovu, by dissidents
AUGA Nyamandlovu farmer on his way to a cattle sale is shot dead with his militia man, by dissidents.
EARLYAmnesty is announced for dissidents, and then for security forces. A total of 122 dissidents surrender.

According to The Chronicle, dissidents murdered a total of 50 people in the Nyamandlovu/Tsholotsho region.
These totals are fairly similar to BLPC interview tallies, which indicate a total of 39 murders either by dissidents or "armed men".
BLPC data also refers to 5 crossfire incidents in which 4 villagers are killed and 3 sustain gun shot wounds in shoot outs between dissidents and security forces: whether dissident or ZNA bullets are responsible is not clear.
The Chronicle specifies a total of 30 assaults by dissidents in Nyamandlovu/Tsholotsho.
Specific news reports also identify as taking place Nyamandlovu/Tsholotsho the following: 2 rapes; 31 abductions; the theft or destruction of 94 properties. 75 of the property offences involve the burning of homesteads on a mine in Nyamandlovu, and the destruction of Z$2 million-worth of government equipment, being used to build dams in the area.
BLPC and CCJP data refer to 32 assaults by dissidents on civilians in Tsholotsho, invariably related to people being accused of being "sell-outs". They also record 3 gun shot wounds and 3 incidents involving mutilations. These totals are again very similar to The Chronicle, which suggests civilians are not inclined at this stage to protect dissidents, and reported their offences to project personnel.
Other BLPC interviews make reference to dissidents, often in passing, when villagers are beaten by 5 Brigade after being forced at gun point to feed dissidents the day before.

There is a vast amount of information in CCJP files on events in Tsholotsho. For a complete outline of what forms such information takes, see CCJP as a data source in Part One. CCJP data remains invaluable and is more reliable than most other sources where dates are concerned. Details given in the archives have frequently served to confirm accounts given in interviews in 1995/96.
A total of 910 named victims in Tsholotsho was collected through interviews, many of whom suffered more than one human rights violation. For an outline of the interviewing procedure in Tsholotsho, see Part One, II, page
Data from both CCJP archives and recent interviews were integrated in a "village by village summary", with village as the common parameter, allowing for the integration of named and numbered victims, without their being counted twice, once with and once without a name.
The "village by village summary" of events proved to be a very productive strategy when analysing data on Tsholotsho, and helped reveal the broad patterns of events. In addition to facilitating the quantification of atrocities and their perpetrators, this method also revealed the location of Army units at different times, in particular 5 Brigade. Tsholotsho was therefore divided up into approximately 4 parts, to correspond with the concentration of 5 Brigade in the various parts of Tsholotsho. In fact, as is clear from the summaries, 5 Brigade reached most villages in the area, and camped in small groups in many different locations: the 4 rough divisions indicate location of larger units and interrogation centres, from which patrols appear to have set out. In addition, the rest of Nyamandlovu was divided into 2 sections, one consisting largely of commercial farms in the south, and the other of the forestry areas in the east.
The sub regions of Nyamandlovu are:
1. Western Tsholotsho, around Pumula Mission
2. Southern Tsholotsho, around Mbamba Camp
3.Central Tsholotsho, including Tsholotsho Town and Dhlamini Rest Camp to the west
4. Northern Tsholotsho, around Gwayi and Sipepa.
5. Commercial farms in the south.
6. Forestry, resettlement and commercial farmland in the east.
A map of Nyamandlovu, inclusive of Tsholotsho Communal Areas, begins the "village by village" summary, showing the areas into which the entire region has been divided for the purposes of this summary, and indicating the major centres.
Five larger scale maps of Nyamandlovu, corresponding to the divisions in the text, have been included in the body of the "village by village" summary. These indicate not only the villages but also the general type and number of offences experienced in the vicinity of each village. Approximate numbers killed, beaten or having homesteads burnt is thus visually represented on the maps.
Three of these maps show Tsholotsho Communal Land and its rough divisions into four parts. The other two maps show commercial farmland, and the forestry and resettlement areas in Nyamandlovu.

The commissioning, training and deployment of 5 Brigade has already been dealt with in detail in Part One of this report. To summarise, 5 Brigade was deployed in Matabeleland North in January 1983, coinciding with the imposition of a severe curfew in the region. Thousands of atrocities, including murders, mass physical torture and the burnings of property occurred in the ensuing 6 weeks. 5 Brigade was withdrawn for a month in the middle of the year, then redeployed. Disappearances and detentions became more common than other offences. Mbamba Camp in the south of Tsholotsho is frequently referred to as a detention centre. 5 Brigade was mainly deployed in Matabeleland South in early 1984, although a platoon of 5 Brigade was in Matabeleland North at this time too. However, there was no curfew in force in Matabeleland North in 1984, and 5 Brigade activities were centred on the southern half of the country.
The presence of the 5 Brigade in an area in 1983 meant an inital outburst of intense brutality, usually lasting a few days, followed by random incidents of beatings, burnings and murders in the ensuing weeks, months and years. It meant that any community which had once experienced 5 Brigade lived in a state of intense anxiety and fear, unsure where and when it might strike again, or who its next victims might be.
The terror and insecurity throughout the region also led to many hundreds of people, especially young men, fleeing to urban centres such as Bulawayo, or to Botswana. To stay in the area if you were a young man meant almost certain victimisation by 5 Brigade, who assumed that all such people were ex-ZIPRA and therefore dissidents.
Many communities suffered massive material loss in the initial onslaught, losing huts and granaries. They also lost village members who had been killed or abducted, and were frequently forced to watch others close to them dying slowly from injuries sustained from beating, burning, shooting or bayoneting. Villagers were warned not to seek medical help, and risked being shot for curfew breaking if they did seek help.
Many who were beaten were left with permanent disabilities, ranging from paralysis, blindness, deafness, miscarriage, impotence, infertility, and kidney damage, to partial lameness and recurring back and head aches. These injuries have left victims with impaired ability to work in their fields or do any of the heavy labour, such as carrying water, on which survival in the rural areas depends. Inability to work in the fields is a recurring theme in interviews.
In addition to the physical injuries, it is clear from interviews that large numbers of people in Tsholotsho suffered some degree of psychological trauma, leading in extreme cases to insanity, and in many cases to recurring depression, dizzy spells, anxiety, anger, or a permanent fear and distrust of Government officials.
Wives were left without breadwinners. Children were left without one or both parents, and with the trauma of having witnessed appalling violence against those they loved. Families were left without the consolation of truly knowing the fate of their kin, or their burial places.
Communities were left to deal with the trauma of having seen their parents, husbands and community leaders harmed and humiliated.
Many families have had to face practical problems arising from the number of dead for whom death certificates were never issued. This has meant problems gaining birth certificates for children, or drawing money from bank books in the name of the deceased. Other people who fled employment in the area, in order to protect their lives, have been denied pensions for having broken their service without notice.
Deaths have been assessed in terms of both sex and age of victims, with 3 age categories being used, for each sex:
MALE: 83% of all deaths
FEMALE: 17% of all deaths
Under 20 yrs: 4% of all deaths
Aged 20 - 60 yrs: 70% of all deaths
Aged over 60 yrs: 9% of all deaths
Under 20 yrs: 4% of all deaths
Aged 20 - 60 yrs: 9% of all deaths
Aged over 60 yrs: 4% of all deaths
Men aged between 20 - 60 yrs are of `breadwinning age' (ie 70% of all dead). However aprroximately 30-40% of them can be assumed to have had no dependants, as many had just returned from the war and had not yet married. Many others, at the top end of this age group, had fully grown children.
This means between 42% and 50% of all those killed can be assumed to have had dependants.
In addition, a few of the women killed were widows with dependants, whose children were henceforth orphans. Around 2% fall in this category.
Total Breadwinners killed is likely to be around 45% of total deaths.
In terms of current figures on Nyamandlovu/Tsholotsho:
TOTAL Deaths: approx 900+
BREADWINNERS Dead: approx 400
The vast majority of these were self-employed farmers, who supported themselves from their fields and occasional labour on surrounding farms and in nearby towns.
This constitutes the largest category of property loss reported.
Reported burnt: 345 homesteads, with others implied.
(Involves burning of 26 villages either entirely or substantially)
This is the largest category of offence, involving both isolated beating incidents and also at least 60 incidents in which most or all villagers in a village were beaten. Both men and women were beaten, with no obvious preference for beating men in the mass beatings. Preference was sometimes shown to the elderly, who would be beaten less severely or not at all.
Individual or small group assaults: 314
Mass village beatings: 70 villages
Mass railway siding beatings: 4
If approx 50 villagers is assumed per mass beating, 3 400 villagers can be estimated to have been beaten.
Most common beating technique: People would be forced to lie face down on the ground, and then would be repeatedly beaten, often for several hours, with thick sticks or gun butts.
Most common complaints:
Permanent back\arm\leg\neck\hand aches, inhibiting any heavy work.
Fractured fingers\arms and other bones
Permanent scarring of buttocks and back
Recurring headaches, dizziness and high blood pressure
Permanent eye damage and hearing disorders
Jaw damage including loss of teeth
Permanent uterine disorders
Permanent kidney damage, also male impotence
Numbers in brackets: indicate source numbers of BLPC interviews from which information was derived.
** indicates source document is in a CCJP file
**** indicates an incident involving dissidents. For all other incidents, the perpetrators are identified as Army units or other Government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), or Police Support Unit (SU).
5 Brigade (5B) may be assumed as the perpetrator unless another unit is mentioned.
Tsholotsho has been roughly divided up into four regions for this section, each one being an area within the vicinity of known 5 Brigade Base Camps. In practice some villages were affected by more than one of these units, and in early 1983 the far south of Tsholotsho was probably affected by the unit based in Tsholotsho, as the one at Mbamba Camp appears to have been established later in 1983. The four regions are:
1Pumula Mission, covering the whole western area and much of the south.
2Mbamba/Nanda, in the extreme south and east
3Tsholotsho town and the central part of Tsholotsho, west towards Dhlamini Rest Camp.
4Gwayi/Sipepa region, in northern Tsholotsho.

The spellings of names of "villages" or "lines" have been standardised in accordance with the 1975 Surveyor General's map of the Nyamandlovu region (Sheet SE-35-15).
In general, this seems to have been very badly affected by 5 Brigade, who set up camp close to the Mission, from late January 1983. From interviews, it is clear that many settlements within a very wide radius of the mission experienced mass beatings, or were burnt to the ground because villagers had fled the area.
A few parts of this area, to the west of the Mission ( eg Korodziba, Soloboni), have been entirely resettled since the early eighties, so reports on 5 Brigade activities here trickle in from other locations in Tsholotsho, wherever people have been resettled to. Fortunately, events around Pumula Mission were well documented by CCJP, and File H also has comprehensive accounts of events in some villages. It has therefore been possible to place those few interviews which lack detail in context within the broader data framework.
NESHANGO LINE (next to Ningombeneshango Airstrip):
3 FEB 1983: Mass beating of villagers and shooting of 2 young pregnant girls, followed by their being bayonetted open to reveal the still moving foetuses. These two girls (already pregnant) and several others had been raped by members of the ZNA in November of 1982, who reportedly left by helicopter after several days of raping these girls.
(1146 - 1168 inclusive, also file H).
Raped: 8
Dead: 2
Beaten: 6 named victims, 50 estimated total
KUMBULA SCHOOL, PUMULA VILLAGE (approx 5 km SE of Pumula Mission)
13 FEB 1983: Whole village beaten, and 7 shot dead, including a teacher, after digging their own grave. Witnesses refer to a fountain of blood from the pit. (file H, all named,** CCJP case files confirms 1 name, also 298-9, 310-11)
APRIL 1983: Several ZAPU officials badly beaten, one named victim (323)
Dead: 7
Beaten: 50 estimated (January), plus 10 estimated (April).
DINGANDAWO: (near to Kumbula School):
11 FEB 1983: The villagers were rounded up and beaten, and then some were shot dead at 7p.m. (458-9).
**CCJP case files has name of 1 dead here, 1983
Dead: 3 named, plus others
Beaten: 50 est
SAHLUPEKA (approx 7 km due South of Pumula Mission)
FEB 83: the whole village was rounded up in the evening and very severely beaten. 5 members of 2 families were chosen and shot to death in a shallow mass grave.(file H has all names)
Dead: 5
Beaten : 50 est
PATALIKA: (2 km south of Tankahukwe)
2 men were abducted and their decomposed bodies were later found in the bush. (319, also file H)
Another villager from here was abducted from Bulawayo, where he had gone for safety, and was later shot dead at Tshitatshawa in Tsholotsho. (482).
Dead: 3
PELELA: (approx 8 km due South of Pumula Mission)
FEB 83: Man killed coming home from a beer drink. A stranger to the village was also tortured and left for dead. He managed to crawl almost to the village and died - nobody knows who he was. (File H, 303)
FEB 83: Man accused of supporting dissidents and killed. (320).
FEB 83: a villager from here fled to Plumtree, where he was killed by 5B. (294).
APRIL 83: villagers who were in church were forced to leave by 5B and made to sing and dance all day. 5B also killed and ate 3 goats. (3257)
Dead: 4
DANDA: (approx 9 km due South of Pumula Mission)
FEB 83: 3 ex-ZIPRAs from Mkubazi were among many taken to the pan here and shot. One escaped with gun shot wounds to Botswana and one was killed. The other went missing. (3246/7/8)
MUZIOMUTSHA (10 km South of Pumula Mission)
14 FEB 1983: 4 villagers were badly beaten, then 3 were taken to Pumula Mission. One was tied to a tree and was later shot. The other 2 had to bury him. (257, 2259-60)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 3
CAWUNAJENA (10 km SW of Pumula Mission):
8 FEB 1983: Entire village rounded up, and many were beaten very severely. 12 men and women, including 2 school teachers, were shot dead. This happened during the night. The 5B camped nearby and the dead were not buried until a year later, by which time many bones were scattered around.(File H has all names, also 479).
2 other men abducted and killed here in FEB. (315, 318)
A woman was also abducted into the bush and shot with her baby on her back. (314)
Another woman was also abducted in FEB and shot. (481)
Dead: 17
Beaten: 50 est
TEMBILI: (adjacent to Cawunajena)
FEB 83: People here were beaten by 5B after church and made to cook daily for the soldiers, who killed and ate some of their livestock. (3258-60)
APRIL 83: a man visiting from Patalika was shot by 5B. (3256)
Property:livestock eaten.
GULAKABILI (approx 20 km SSW of Pumula Mission)
12 FEB 1983: Whole village abducted from nearby to the Pumula Mission area, where they were beaten. Some were then forced to dig a mass grave, made to climb in, and were shot. They were buried while still moving, and villagers were made to dance on the grave and sing songs in praise of ZANU-PF. Number of dead given as 12. (File H has all names, also BLPC 300, 305-9 incl)
One victim locked in a hut and burned to death. (296)
MARCH 83: 5B burnt 5 homesteads one morning. (3246-48)
ZNA soldier killed while trying to visit his mother, on leave. (304)
2 others from this area also killed by 5B, circumstances unclear. (478, 484)
A woman was accused of cooking for dissidents and was shot dead. (293).
A woman and her child were taken from here to Pumula Mission and killed (292, also file H)
7 others from this area met individual deaths - one was detained trying to get to Plumtree and was never seen again, another went missing from a house in Bulawayo, and his wife and child were apparently killed by 5B, while trying to flee to Botswana. Another man had his throat cut and bled to death. (file H)
Dead: 25 named victims
Beaten: 50 est
Destroyed: 7 known homesteads
MPILO: (due west of Tankahukwe)
OCT 82: ZNA took the store-keeper and killed him and assaulted his wife. (3264/5)
JAN 83: 2 men from here were killed by 5B because they ran away when they saw 5B coming. (3262-3)
Dead: 3
TANKAHUKWE (7 km SW of Pumula Mission) FEB 1983:
All the villagers were rounded up and severely beaten. 12 were selected and shot after being forced into 2 mass graves. One of the chosen managed to run away, so his younger brother was killed instead. 5B came back in 1984 and stabbed the escapee to death, also severely beating another brother at this time. Another villager who was badly beaten ran away but died later of his injuries. (file H has all names, also 295, 297, 312, 324, 455, 3264-6)
Dead: 14
Beaten: 50 est
EGOMENI (5 km almost due west of Pumula Mission):
FEB 1983: Villagers were rounded up and beaten. 5 were then shot and buried in one grave. (301-2, 321)
A villager was shot dead in February and then had his hut burnt down. (461).
One villager killed trying to return to work in Harare (314)
Another villager was abducted in a truck as a dissident and shot at a nearby farm (483)
Another villager was killed in the Sonqinyana area. (463)
13 FEB 83: One villager shot at dawn at his home. (460)
FEB 83: woman shot dead by 5B who also burnt the homestead. (461)
** CCJP case files report 1 named death here, could be 1st incident.
A man was also detained and never seen again here, February 1983. (319)
Missing: 1
Dead: 10
Beaten: 50 est
MAZHOU: (near Egomeni?)
FEB 83: 4 villagers were abducted to the bush, and were tortured with sticks and knives. One villager attacked his assailant, allowing another to escape. 3 were then killed. (file H)
Dead: 3
Beaten: 1
ST WILFRED'S SCHOOL ( Pumula Mission area)
2 FEB 1983: Some of the ex-ZIPRAS in this area ran away in January. The mothers of 2 were tortured for "parenting dissidents", and were then shown 5 men including their sons. These 5 were taken to Tsholotsho town, and 2 weeks later one returned, with serious gunshot wounds. He had climbed out of a mass grave in which he had been shot with many others, and had made his way home. He died a day later. (609-11)
Dead: 5 plus possibly others
Beaten: 2 plus possibly others
MANALA: (West of Pumula Mission, resettled)
29 MARCH 1983: 1 beaten, bayonetted, finally killed the next day, and his body burnt, by 5 Brigade. (1230)
Dead: 1
SALANKOMO ( approx 5 km NW of Mission):
**28 JAN 1983: 20 5B soldiers came in the morning and killed the village ZAPU chairman and 2 schoolboys, one aged 14. They were beaten in front of the villagers first, and all the adults present were also beaten. (Comm of Inquiry Statement, also file H).
**28 FEB 1983: same soldiers rounded up people in the village and put 2 men, 7 women, 2 with babies, and 3 children into one hut. They set fire to the hut, and the men inside forced the door open. As the 12 ran out, 6 were shot and killed including a baby and a girl, and 1 was shot and left for dead.
**CCJP has on record the Medical Cards and Comm of Inquiry statement of the victim who suffered a GSW to the stomach in Feb 83 incident - records start from May 83 by which time wound is very infected. (file A, also file H)
Two more homesteads were burnt at a later date. (BLPC 338-9, 457, 3274-5)
Dead: 9
GSW: 1
Beaten: 5 plus possibly others
Homes burnt: 3 known
NDAWANA (6 km west of Pumula Mission):
FEB 83: 2 villagers from here were curfew breaking and their tracks were reported by villagers from Egomeni nearby, who did not know who they were. 5B prepared to beat and destroy all at Egomeni, and had already dug mass graves. However, the 2 from Ndawana were caught before this happened, and they were killed instead. (file H, also 3273-6). The soldiers then moved to Ndawana, where the commander ordered the whole village into a hut and set fire to it. Once the commander left, another 5B soldier let the villagers out of the hut, so they were spared. (file H)
MARCH 83: an old man from here was taken to Pumula Mission, tied to a tree and forced to make animal sounds. 5B also killed his ox. (3272)
Dead: 2
Tortured: 1
Burnt: 2 homesteads
SOLONKWE: (4 km north west of Pumula Mission, now resettled)
**JUNE 1983: CCJP Comm of Inquiry report of 22 villagers including women and children burnt to death in a hut, after being brutally beaten first. The owner of the hut begged for the lives of his 4 youngest children to be spared, and this was allowed, although the life of an older daughter was not spared. (file A, file H also refers, also 316-17, 322, 462)
Dead: 22
Burnt: 1 hut
PELANDABA (west of Pumula Mission):
29 JAN 1983: 5B rounded up many men from the area, tortured them until they couldn't walk and shot them. File H names 8 victims, **CCJP case files also reports 11 other named deaths here in 1983, probably same day, and 1 death in 1984. BLPC names 2 more victims from Jan incident. (342-346)
3 others killed, including a married couple who went to report dissidents in the area. (345, 348)
Dead: 25 named victims
Beaten: 50 estimated
SEQWINI: ( approx 15 km due north of Pumula Mission):
15 APRIL 1983:1 person killed by 5 Brigade, bayonetted to death. (1232)
Dead: 1
TANKENI: (NW of Pumula Mission)
1983? a villager from here was one of 6 men beaten and then machine gunned by 5B at Mzimwatuga. 5B also burnt homesteads in the village and destroyed crops and livestock. (403)
Dead: 6
Burnt: several homesteads.
KORODZIBA (west of Pumula Mission, now resettled):
FEB 83: 5B came to the school and took about 60 pupils aged over 14 years. They were all beaten and asked about dissidents. 20-30 girls were raped and then ordered to have sex with some of the boys while the soldiers watched. They were beaten for 3 hours. (3311)
4 MARCH1983: 5 villagers were murdered at night for being PF-ZAPU members. (1223-27 incl)
Also MARCH: 2 children out of a group of children died of starvation trying to run away from 5 Brigade in this area. They were trying to reach Ngamo railway siding, which is about 100 km NE of Korodziba. The dead were aged 9 and 14, the survivor was 15. (1234-5)
Dead: 5 plus 2
SOLOBONI (west of Pumula Mission, now resettled):
23 FEB 1983: 5 Brigade rounded up entire village to the borehole. 6 people were chosen at random and were bayonetted to death, and buried in one grave. Everyone was then beaten. 5 people were beaten to death, and one person died years later, partly as a result of injuries from this beating. Another man who wept to see his brother killed, was severely beaten and died a few weeks later from his injuries. One old lady who was found in her hut was raped, and 5B then set fire to a plastic bag and burned the old lady with it, setting fire to her blanket. She died 3 weeks later from the burns. (3313)
1 hut was burnt. (1238-42 incl, 1282-87 incl)
Dead: 14
Raped: 1
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: 1 hut
GIBIXEGU (NW of Pumula Mission, now resettled)
2 FEB 1983: 5B entered the village in a truck and rounded all the villagers up. 2 women were tortured and a man taken away was never seen again. 6 people were beaten to death, including 4 women.
(275, 697-703 incl)
Dead: 6
Missing: 1
Beaten: 2 known, plus others
EMANALENI (7 km NW of Ematetshaneni)
On the same day that 5B beat and killed people at Gibixegu, they "did the same" at Emanaleni (698).
A villager was taken by the Army and killed with bayonets, because he asked "World Vision" to film atrocities in their area. (613)
MARCH 1983: 5B killed a headman from Filabusi and chopped off a woman's head. (1228 9)
Dead: 4?
EGAGWINI (approx 25 km due north of Pumula Mission): MARCH 1983:
One young man was taken by 5 Brigade, badly beaten, returned, and while his parents were washing his wounds, 5 Brigade came back and shot him. (1236)
Dead: 1
EMATETSHANENI (approx 24 km due north of Pumula Mission):
FEB 1983 School treasurer beaten and then shot for not handing over funds, 500 m from his home.
Dead: 1
SIHAZELA (30 km NNE of Pumula Mission)
FEB 1983: an old man was shot 500 m from his home by 5B. They came back 3 days later and killed the old man's wife and daughter, and burned down the homestead. They also kicked a year-old child and broke his back. (599-603)
Dead: 3
Injured: 1
Burnt: 1 homestead
MKHONYENI ( Between Dzimidza-Sihazela, approx 20 km NNE of Pumula Mission):
END JAN 1983: the first woman to die in this area was accused of feeding dissidents. She was pregnant and was bayonetted open to kill the baby. She died later. (350)
FEB 1983: All the villagers were forced to witness the burning to death of 26 villagers, in the 3 huts of Dhlamini. (326-37 incl, 347-49, 605-7). Women and children died. There was only one survivor.
File H lists all names of victims. The same report says that a few days before the hut burning, many men were killed, in punishment for having failed to catch a local thief the 5B wanted. (5 names in file H, 7 more in **CCJP case files)
**CCJP case files also name 9 who died here, probably same incident as above.
Just before the hut burning, at least one woman was beaten to death. (334)
MARCH 1983: many men were shot dead at Mzimwatuga Pan. This was in punishment for having failed to catch a local thief 5B wanted. This report also mentions the hut burning (file H, also 604)
Another villager was stabbed to death at Tshiyakwakiwe, near the pan. Another villager also died in this area. (332, 353)
**CCJP also report 1 missing here in 1983.
Missing: 1
Dead: 1(preg): 26 in the hut: 12 named victims at the pan: 3 others = 42
****JULY 1984: Dissidents killed the ZANU chairman as he was addressing a meeting. (1231)
Dead: 1
FEB 1983: All the people from these villages were rounded up and beaten and some were killed. Name of one dead victim. (600, 1125)
JUNE 83: 5B shot 2 cows who ate their washing off the line. (3211)
**** JULY 83: as dissidents passed through the village of Semawuru, the army arrived and started shooting. The villagers ran away and a woman was shot in the foot. Her husband took her to hospital and in their absence Army vandalised the house. (1248) Genuine crossfire.
OCT 83: A villager was asked about dissidents by "Nai Ka" and then hit in the mouth, losing all his teeth. A villager found milking and the headman of his village were taken to Pumula Mission by the Commander whose nickname was "Nai Ka", and the villager was killed. (658, 590)
An old man from the neighbouring kraal of EMPISINI was hit with rifle butts. (608)
A villager was assaulted when he asked a soldier to pay for goods taken from a child. (1120)
Dead: 1 known victim.
Beaten: 150 est
BONKWE/NYANGANYUNI (15 km NE of Pumula Mission)
FEB 1983: A young woman from Bonkwe going to buy mealie meal was beaten for wearing her husband's watch. Her husband was summoned to Nyanganyuni and beaten to death. Every bone in his body was broken - he is referred to as being "like a cloth". (612)
Another local was abducted to Pumula Mission and killed there. (file H)
Dead: 2
Beaten: 1
FOLOSI (7 km due east of Pumula Mission):
3 FEB 1983: Whole village beaten with sticks. Boys were made to fight each other, while other villagers were forced to dig a mass grave. 4 men were made to lie face down in the grave and were then shot. (1169-1174 incl)
2 other men were abducted and tortured to death and buried in shallow graves. (file H).
Dead: 6
Beaten: 50 est.
LUBESI (10 km SE of Pumula Mission):
7 FEB 1983: The entire village was rounded up, was forced to sing songs and was then beaten. 3 men were made to dig a grave (2 were "curfew-breakers" from neighbouring Nxuma). They were made to jump in to the grave, and were then shot. They were buried while still moving. 5 Brigade also killed and ate a cow and some goats around this time, while camped at Lubesi Dam. (1135-7 incl, 1139, file H also refers to 2 of these dead)
Dead: 3
Beaten: 50 est
MBIRIYA and NXUMA (15 km SE of Pumula Mission):
END JAN 1983: All villagers in these two neighbouring settlements were assembled in Mbiriya. They were accused of cooking for dissidents and everyone was beaten, after being placed in small groups. 10 people were shot dead at the dam (9 names). 4 were beaten to death, while others were badly beaten, including a 4mth old baby. Some of the injured went to Pumula hospital. After the beating, the villagers of Mbiriya deserted the village for a while, and 5 Brigade came back and burnt 15 homesteads to the ground.
10 others were killed at Nxuma, and buried in 1 grave (all names, file H).
In another incident in February 1983, 2 teachers at Mbiriya School were badly assaulted, one was killed, and a house was burnt down. (1182-4, 1199, 1186-92 incl, 1257, 1262-1268 incl, 1292-93, 2016ff)
APRIL 83: an army Puma carrying villagers after a rally where Mugabe spoke, was fired at and people were injured near Nxuma. (3273)
Dead: 25
Beaten: 100 est
Burnt: 15 homesteads
BUMBU (just east of Mbiriya):
END JAN 1983: A councillor and a man back from working in South Africa were shot dead. 11 homesteads were torched to the ground. When other villagers saw the fires, they ran away, but 5B fetched them back. 1 man was made to bury the dead and another was taken away and never seen again. (628, 634, 1116-18 incl, 1128-32 incl, 3261)
JAN 1983: a man trying to return to work in Harare from here has never been seen again. (1272).
**CCJP case files names another man who went missing in 1983.
Dead: 2
Missing: 3
Burned: 11 homesteads.
BUTSHENA (just West of Mbiriya):
11 FEB 1983: The villagers moved out of their houses after witnessing what had happened in neighbouring villages. On 11 Feb they saw 5 Brigade burning all their homesteads. (1143)
Burned: 22 homesteads, 9 granaries
SANDAWANA (approx 10 km East of Mbiriya):
4 FEB 1983: A man accused of telling others to bury their property to save it was taken to Pumula Mission and killed. (1279)
10 FEB: all the villagers assembled and some were selected and beaten. At least one was taken away and killed. (1275)
After this, the villagers deserted the village, and 5 Brigade found it empty and burnt down 30 homesteads - names of 28 owners given. (Exact date not clear - reports say variously Jan, Feb, April, - Feb seems most likely, as the curfew was still in force). On this same day, a girl found near the homesteads were severely beaten. She was hidden by her parents and then smuggled by scotch cart 30 km southwards to Ndolwane clinic. (1179, 1254-58 incl, 1288-91 incl, 1300-17 incl, 1261)
2 men killed after being tortured at a borehole in this area. (file H)
MAY 1984: a villager from here was among 5 taken from a bus for having no ID, and was apparently tortured and killed at Bhalagwe Camp in Kezi. [see Part Two, II for Bhalagwe Camp].(1278)
NOV 1984: a man from here had his house burnt down, ran away and was never seen again, although rumour had it that he was buried at Empandeni Mission, in Bulilimamangwe. (1280)
Dead: 5 known
Beaten: 1 named, plus others
Burnt: 30 homesteads
KALANE: (near Sandawana)
18 FEB 1983: The day the villagers saw neighbouring Sandawana go up in flames they ran away. One villager came back to let his cattle out and was badly beaten. 11 kraals were burnt down that day. (1261)
SEPT 1983: a villager was beaten to death and 3 homesteads were burnt. (1273-4)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 1
Burnt: 14 homesteads
TSHOMWINA and DZOKOTZE (5 km due south of Mbiriya):
JAN-FEB 1983 All the villagers of Tshomwina were forced-marched to Dzokotze nearby. They were beaten, and 5 were killed. One man died after terrible mutilations which included having his jaw broken and his tongue cut out. This man ran away and was found by his family in a neighbouring village. He took 8 days to die, without medical care. (1186-98)
20 homesteads in Tshomina were burnt down. (1186-98)
A ZNA member home on leave was taken to Pumula, tortured, taken from there in a car and never seen again. (1144)
Another interview refers to 6 villagers from TSHOMWINA detained in Jan 1983, taken to Pumula Mission, where they were beaten and released after 6 weeks. (1140-41)
Dead: 5
Missing: 1
Beaten: 100 est
Burned: 20 homesteads.
Detained: 6
OCT 83: **** DISSIDENTS shot dead 4 and injured a 5th, accused of conniving with the Army. (1295-99incl)
Dead: 4
GSW: 1
GARIYA - near BUTABUBILI (12 km due south of Mbiriya):
5 Brigade referred to as raping all the women in the village, and forcing them to cook for them. (Time not given, but probably early 1983). They are then said to have returned some months later, posing as dissidents and beating people.(569)
Another interview refers to 3 killed by 5 Brigade, including the kraal head, in 1983. (569-70)
JUNE 1983: a few villagers found at a nearby dam were beaten and 9 villagers were killed. (1292-4)
SEPT 1983: 5B came at night and took away 4 men in the village, who were then shot at a nearby kraal. One survived.(575)
OCT 1983: 6 homesteads are burnt, and 3 villagers are beaten. The woman who was ZAPU chairwoman for the area was burnt to death in her hut. (1270-71, 1279)
DEC 84: 5B interrogated villagers about dissidents. They injured one man, and woman had her leg broken . They then burnt one villager to death in his hut. (576-7, 670)
Dead: 17
Raped: several
GSW: 1
Beaten: 6 known plus others
Burned: 6 homesteads
MGODI MASILI: (5 km east of Butabubili)
2 FEB 1983: villagers heard 5B coming and ran away. 2 who stayed behind were bayonetted and beaten to death. An old woman was also killed, and 7 huts and 2 granaries were burnt. (555, 557, 581) Young men were taken from the villages in the area to train as "youth patrol" to look out for dissidents. Some youths were shot dead by 5 Brigade during the training exercise. (1259-60)
15 FEB 83: an ex-ZIPRA was picked up and never seen again. (1253)
FEB 84: a man was picked up and stabbed 32 times with bayonets by 5B, and thrown in a pit - he survived. (554)
1984: a man and his wife were picked up at the shopping centre and beaten, then were taken to an Army camp in Plumtree for a week, before being hospitalised. (1723-24)
1 other man was also killed. (546)
1 other man also beaten. (574)
Dead: 6 known victims plus others
Missing: 1
Stabbed: 1
Beaten: 3 known
Burnt: 7 huts 2 granaries
SIKENTE (approx 10 km due south of Sandawana):
END JAN 1983: The whole village was marched to Sekatawu Pan. Many were beaten and some were accused of being dissidents and were shot and buried in one grave. Number of dead not given, one named victim. (562 )
Early 1983? Villagers were gathered at Sikente School and beaten. Some were shot dead, others were shot and injured. Details including time are vague. (558)
**2 FEB 1983: CCJP reports store keeper and one other shot dead, also one woman with a GSW
3 teachers were also robbed and told to leave the area, and all the homesteads along the Nata river were burned down. (file B - this sounds the same day as 558)
LATE 1983: one man detained at night and never seen again. (560)
JUNE 1984: a man was taken off a bus in this area, was never seen again. (573)
Missing: 2
Dead: 3 known - plus several others from Jan incident
GSW: 1
Beaten: 100 est (incl 2 incidents)
Burned: Most homesteads - more than 10 estimated
Another incident, SIKENTE area, time not clear, but probably not during early 1983, but later. 5 Brigade are accused of posing as dissidents, collecting a group of men and women, taking them into the bush and chopping them with axes. Interviewee suffered serious injuries - unclear how many others died or were injured.(568)
Another incident, SIKENTE area, time not clear - or perpetrator - this might have been dissidents although it sounds more like an early 5 Brigade incident. An unspecified number of villagers is referred to as having been "killed while worshipping" in the bush. 5 Brigade could well have killed people here as curfew-breakers - the dissidents almost without exception kill only sell-outs and usually make their motive clear. Is this possibly the same incident as the one above? Or it could be same as a church shooting incident among the Plumtree reports? (567) (Plumtree is 544)
Dead: 2 named victims, plus others
Injured: 2 named, plus others
JALUME (5 km NE of Sikente)
1983: a man was killed on his way back from a cattle sale. He was tortured with burning plastic and then shot. (580).
6 NOV 1985: 5B in plain clothes badly beat a woman, and axed her husband. They then burnt him to death in a hut along with his eldest child. Their footprints led back to the army camp nearby. (571, 572)
Dead: 3
Beaten: 1
TSHIBIZINA (between Nengombenshango and Dhlamini airstrips)
3 FEB 1983: mass beating of the village, by 5B from Dlamini Camp, and the headman was shot dead. 2 women who were beaten too badly to walk were also shot dead. At least one homestead was burnt. (1122-3, 1126, 1142)
**** FEB 83: 6 dissidents are referred to as beating 2 villagers in Tshibizina (1133-4).
1983: 5B shot dead a man in the village, and then next day the commander apologised. (1180).
** CCJP reports closure of school here after the Headmaster was beaten up in front of the pupils, after which he fled the area. (file B)
SEPT 83: 3 taken to Pumula Mission for interrogation, one then killed (1121).
**** NOV 1985: dissidents pulled a man out of bed and shot him dead. (1115)
Dead: 5
Beaten: 50 est
TSHAKABANDA (approx 20 km due east of Pumula Mission):
7 FEB 1983: the whole village was beaten by 5 Brigade, and 2 were shot dead.
Another interview refers to 2 people found chopping wood, who were accused of being dissidents and were bayonetted to death in front of the other villagers - it is not clear when this was. (497)
SEPT 1983(?) Tshakabanda: 3 homesteads were burnt, villagers were beaten, and one victim was beaten to death.
Dead: 5
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: 3 homesteads
BEMBA: (10 km due north of Tshibizina)
6 FEB 83: 5B marched villagers from Bemba to the school, where there were some from Pumula Mission. They were beaten for the whole day (7 named victims plus others). They also broke window panes and killed chickens and a goat.
Beaten: 50 est
Property:2 chickens, 1 goat.
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997



1. Archival Data - The Chronicle, including quantification of dissident atrocities
2. Data Integration Data Integration - CCJP Archives and Interviews in 1995-6
3. Summary of 5 Brigade Impact on Tsholotsho
4.Overview of Human Rights Abuses, Nyamandlovu/ Tsholotsho
5. Village by village summary of events, incorporating maps of sub-regions

1.)Pumula Mission - western Tsholotsho
2.)Mbamba Camp - southern Tsholotsho
3.)Central Tsholotsho
4.)Northern Tsholotsho
5.)Commercial farms in the south
6.)Commercials farms, forestry and resettlement in the east.
6.Table summarising atrocities by sub-region
Parts of this very southern end of Tsholotsho seem to have been in the path of the early 5 Brigade onslaught, while others escaped until later in 1983.
In mid to late 1983, 5 Brigade set up an interrogation centre at MBAMBA - there are numerous reports of selected people being beaten and killed at Mbamba Camp from mid-1983 onwards.
[**** It is also interesting to note that interviewees from this very southern end of Tsholotsho seem to report a higher incidence of dissident presence and atrocities than any other area. (816, 824, 823, 826, 846ff) 5 Brigade atrocities still by far outnumber those of dissidents.]
NANDA AREA, (approx 15 km due west of Mbamba): BHANTI KRAAL:
29 JAN 1983: whole village rounded up and beaten and then several selected and shot. It is not clear how many were involved, names of 5 deceased and 2 assaulted.
(378, 379, 359, 377, 382-3-5)
FEB 1983: 2 girls collecting water beaten by 5B. One victim beaten again in March, with her husband. (1719-20)
1983: a man from here ran away to Plumtree where he was bayonetted to death by 5B. (381)
**CCJP case files also reports name of 1 dead here in 1983.
Dead: 6 known victims
Beaten: 50 est.







JAN 1983: A man found with goods stored in his house was taken to the school, made to say goodbye to his children and was then shot in the toilet. His family were told to celebrate his death, to "make umpululu". His wife was then abducted and taken to "be a wife" for 5B. (578-632)
**EARLY 1983: CCJP report tells of whole village being taken to Nemane School. A roll-call was called and those on it were shot dead, totalling 12. Mistresses (no number) were raped. (file B, also 384)
**9 FEB: a few days after the above killings a man was shot dead near the local store. (file B)
EARLY 1983: a villager trying to get to Tsholotsho to get an ID card was taken to the school where people were being killed. He was killed, along with others. (559 - this sounds same day as CCJP report.)
MARCH 1983: people were rounded up and taken to Nemane School, and were never seen again. Name of 4 victims, 2 women, 2 men. (371, 373, 375, 376)
17 AUG 1983: 17 Puma trucks took all young men in the greater area to Nanda air strip (?) where they were beaten and tortured for seven days. "Many" died and others were crippled for life. (1340, 1357, 1366)
Dead: 16 known, plus others from 3 different incidents.
Missing: 4
Raped: 3 plus others
Beaten: 50 est
NANDA AREA: time not clear, but after early 1983. 5 Brigade posing as dissidents locked people in their huts and then shot several. One named victim. (374)
NOV 1983: 2 men were burnt to death in a hut, by 5B - one was a herbalist accused of using his powers to help dissidents. (1276-77)
DEC 1983: 2 men were taken away for interrogation, also one from Denge, also a woman from Ngubomlilo and were never seen again.
(357, 358, 372, 1341)
NOV 84: a solitary 5B soldier in uniform shot a man after the victim had given him food. (380)
Dead: 4
Missing: 3
MALANDA: ( approx 20 km NW of Mbamba):
JUNE 1982: (this may be 83, as 5B is accused, or it may be another ZNA unit). Man assaulted for failure to report dissidents. (1364)
14 JAN 1983: villagers were told to assemble at Malanda Stores, where they were beaten. (1362-63)
**21 JAN: a doctor based at Tsholotsho hospital reports a man shot dead here by 5B and his wife severely beaten by 5B. This man's brother was shot a few days later, while home on leave from Bulawayo. (file E)
24 JAN 1983: A small group of 5B went from house to house on this day, and shot any young men they found, including 2 ZNA soldiers home on leave. They also severely beat up a pregnant woman, so that her baby was later born in pieces.(444, 466-7, 476-7, 1358) see page , for full statement.
1983: several individual assaults ( 1338, 1355, 134 )
APRIL 83: a couple badly beaten, man taken to Nanda and returned. They also shot up a neighbour's granary. (1368-69, 1370)
A man was detained and beaten after he went to report dissidents (1371).
MAY 83: A villager was taken in a truck and never seen again. (475)
JUNE 1983: a man found milking was shot and seriously injured. (1281)
JUNE 1983: young men were gathered at Malanda School and were beaten and forced to fight each other. Others were assaulted in their homes on this da: all 5B as perpetrator. (1359-60 61)
Man badly assaulted and then taken away some days later, missing - by 5B. (1365)
2 girls were raped in their home in front of family, and then were force marched with others to Malanda School where they were beaten. Could be same day as above - by 5B. (1373-74)
JULY 1983: ZAPU official beaten with burning logs - by 5B (1354)
AUG 1983: Man beaten and tortured with burning plastic - by 5B. (1337).
A woman horsewhipped - by 5B. (1367)
OCT 1983: a villager was beaten, detained and had his house burnt down - by 5B (1269)
MAY 1985: local herbalist beaten to death - by 5B (1352)
Dead: 8
Missing: 2
Raped: 2
Beaten: 23 known plus others
GSW: 1
Burnt: 1 homestead
MPUNGAYILE (near Nemane School)
1983: 5B shot dead a mentally retarded boy, and then shot 3 other men. Because the women wept, they were shot too, 4 of them. (547-52 incl, 561,566)
Dead: 8
ZIBALONKWE SCHOOL ( 8 km SW of Nemani Sch)
FEB 1983: Villagers were rounded up to the store and spent the night there. In the morning the teachers wre released. It is unclear whether wide-spread beating took place during the night, but the interviewee was beaten with gun butts and had property stolen. (545)
Beaten: 1 plus probably others.
BAYANE ( approx 13 km West of Tsh town)
Date not known - man abducted from here and never seen again. (352)
FEB 85: man abducted from here, by CIO, never seen again. (367)
Missing: 2
Numerous reports of incidents in this area, from early 1983 - but more towards the end of 1983 and parts of 1984.
** EARLY 1983: CCJP reports 7 young men in Mbamba region gunned down. (file B).
MAY 83: a villager from near here was taken and never seen again. (840)
AUGUST 1983: a teacher was detained and tortured for 5 days. (791)
AUGUST 1984: 16 teachers from this area were badly tortured at Mbamba army camp. (792)
**** One of the teachers in the above incident was also stabbed by a dissident in 1982, for refusing him money. (792)
JULY 1983: an ex-ZIPRA demobbed man was taken off the bus at Mbamba shopping centre and never seen again, although his family were asked by the police to forward his ID card, demob info etc.(1325)
SEPT 1985: a man and his wife were beaten by CIO and the man was taken away to Mbamba where he was killed. (189, 712).
Dead: 8
Missing: 2
Tortured: 17
Injured: 2
DINYANE (1 km north of Mbamba) DEC 1983:
Woman made to cook for plain clothed armed men speaking Shona (ie. not dissidents), then is beaten the next day by 5 Brigade for feeding dissidents. Her entire household was burnt down. (822)
1983: a villager was killed by 5B at neighbouring Matule
FEB 1983: several villagers in nearby SILANDE were beaten by 5B. (818)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 5 ?
Burnt: 1 homestead
SOLUSWE SCHOOL AREA (3 km east of Mbamba)
1982?: a villager was shot by ZNA for curfew breaking. (837)
No date given: 2 soldiers from SU harrassed and beat 2 women before shooting their husbands dead. (832-34)
JAN 1983: 5B shot a man in the back and injured his father. (829-30)
?**** SEPT 85: 7 "armed men" shot the local ZANU chairman. (836)
?**** SEPT 85: one woman was killed and another bayonetted by "armed men". (851-2)
?**** SEPT 86?: 5 "armed men" beat 5 women from TSHETSHISA for "being in love with soldiers". (846-50)
Dead: 2 (diss) 3 (army)
Beaten: 7
Injured: 2
SIYANGAYA AREA: (5 km SSW of Mbamba)
14 JAN 1983: 2 schoolboys were shot dead at the school by 5B. (813-4)
A ZNA soldier home on leave was also shot dead here.
?**** 5 "armed men" killed a villager after he had cooked them chicken at their request. (831)
Dead: 4
TSHETSHISA (4 km south of Mbamba Camp).
18 JAN 1983: 2 young men were shot dead by 5B. (819-20)
Dead: 2
BUBUDE: (10 km south of Mbamba):
**** ? 1 JAN 1982: 2 villagers were badly beaten by "5 armed men". (802-3)
MARCH 1983: a man on his way to Tsholotsho CBD was detained, badly beaten and taken to Mbamba Camp before release. (801)
JULY 1983: 2 brothers were taken by plain clothes CIO and were never seen again. (1321-22)
AUG 1983: a man from here was detained, tortured at Tsholotsho, then at Stops Camp, then put in Chikurubi until 1987. (797)
DEC 1983: a 3 year old child was run over and killed by an Army Puma truck. (800).
DEC 1983: Villagers were force marched, tortured and beaten. 2 dead are named, also 1 badly tortured. (799)
FEB 1985: 2 young men taken by CIO and never seen again, although blood was seen on the road. (1323)
Dead: 3
Missing: 4
Tortured: 3 known
Beaten: 10?
Detained: 3
**** JULY 1982: Death in Crossfire (1319-20, 1322 incl). While dissidents were asking for water from the villagers, a ZNA unit entered the village and shot up a hut, killing a dissident and also seriously injuring two villagers, one of whom died.
Dead: 1 villager, 1 dissident
Injured: 1 villager
GUDUZA: (SE of Mbamba Camp)
DEC 1983: A man was shot while trying to collect his ID from a bus he had just left, at the request of 5 B. (1372)
Dead: 1
GOTSHANE - LUZE (8 km SE of Mbamba Camp, Mbalibali school area?)
MARCH 1983 at Dibha line, a homestead was burnt down by 5B. (827). Time not clear: 5 villagers were taken to the school and badly beaten, over several days. One victim went insane from this, ran away from hospital and has never been found. (841-5)
MARCH 84 (?): a villager found watering goats was taken to Mbamba and badly beaten, suffering broken hand and kidney damage. (828)
1984: 2 villagers were tortured by 5B, beaten and semi drowned. (810)
**** JULY 1984: 2 villagers were killed by dissidents, and 1 house burnt, for joining ZANU. (823-4)
Dead: 2
Missing: 1 (insane)
Beaten: 9
Tortured: 5
Burnt: 2 homesteads
MATHE (SE of Mbamba):
FEB 1983: The whole village was called to the primary school and was beaten by 5B. ZAPU chairman, and others (at least 4) were taken and tortured overnight. (1334-36)
1983: ex-ZIPRA man beaten and then shot dead, by 5B. (1327)
SEPT 1986: 2 men hanged by wire, by the "army", one then burnt to ashes in his hut. (1331 32, 1938)
Dead: 3
Beaten: 50 est
Detained: 4
MBALIBALI SCHOOL AREA ( South of Gotshane)
1983: several villagers from this area were beaten by 5B on different occasions. (807-8)
AUG 1983: a woman and her 12yr old son were detained, taken to Tsholotsho and beaten severely. The woman woke up in Mpilo hospital. (804-5)
A ZNA soldier from this area went missing. (806).
JAN 1985: a man from here was detained. (202).
Missing: 1
Beaten: 4 named
Detained: 1
TSHABANDA AREA (approx 20 km south of Mbamba):
4 JAN 1983: the whole village was rounded up to the local school by 5B and was beaten, some very badly, incl the local ZAPU treasurer. One victim was beaten again very severely in AUG 1983. (1326, 1342-43)
JUNE 1984: a man was assaulted with rifle butts at the store, by 5B. (1089).
APRIL 1985: 3 villagers badly beaten for not reporting dissidents. (1100-2)
Beaten: 50 est
DENGE - JIBI (near Tshabanda and Nkunze)
FEB 1983: 4 villagers watering cattle were severely tortured and beaten by 5B. (1088)
1983: 3 villagers were severely beaten by 5B. (1077-79)
APRIL 1983: an ex-ZIPRA man was taken by 5B and never seen again. (1083)
**** APRIL: a man and his wife and others were beaten by dissidents for preparing a meal too slowly. (1084-5)
MAY 1983: a villager was beaten by 5B with an axe and a gun. (1082)
JUNE 1983: a schoolgirl was killed and 2 others injured in a truck accident on the way back from a "pungwe". (1086-7)
MARCH 1984: 5B came at night and tortured a man and wife, pulling her ear off with pliers. They then raped the 2 daughters aged 12 and 15. The same months they also abducted an exZIPRA man who was never seen again. They beat him and his mother. (1094-5)
Dead: 1
Missing: 1
Raped: 2
Beaten: 10
Tortured: 2
Injured: 2
MARCH 1983: 5B took away a ZAPU chairman, who was never seen again. (1098)
1985: 2 villagers were taken away at night. The one was first forced to drink insecticide, and was beaten. The other was blind, and his wife found his ID paper torn up in the road, next to blood stains. (1097, 1099) See Part Three, I, page , for full statement on this victim.
MARCH 1985: The ZAPU vice-chair from Matshadula area was taken by 5B, who beat his wife and burnt the house down. In August they were shown his grave. (825)
Missing: 3
Dead: 1
Beaten: 1
Burnt: 1 homestead
GODONGO - NSUKAMINI: FEB 1983: the whole village was marched to an open space near a river, and was beaten by 5 Brigade. At least 2 died and many others were badly injured. One interviewee comments that this was the only time 5 Brigade came to Godongo itself.
( 1348-49-50, 1375- 87 incl, 2262)
FEB 1983: a villager was abducted at night and never seen again. (1347)
JULY 1985: a villager was seriously beaten (1328)
5 Brigade detained 15 people at the Nkunzi business centre and sjamboked them. They were then shot at by 5 brigade, who missed. (1103)
One man was detained by 5 Brigade and went missing. (1347)
The owner of a big trading store in Nkunzi had all his stock stolen by 5 B (280)
The store owner was badly beaten in 1983 (1344).
Man detained, missing 1983 (1351)
Missing : 3
Dead: 2 known, plus others
Beaten: 50
NSHABA school
FEB 1983: 7 ex-ZIPRA men were killed, after the whole village was gathered at the school for the day. Not clear whether any beating took place. (1346)
Dead: 7
GODZO: (approx 2 km south of Magama Mission)
7 FEB 1983: 2 villagers beaten, taken from their homes and killed (1206-7)
4 MARCH 1983: man taken and never seen again.(1205)
JAN 1985: a villager was detained from here. (201)
Dead: 2
Missing: 1
Detained: 1
MGUZANA: (approx 2 km SE of Magama Mission)
5 FEB 1983: 2 taken and never seen again, one man, one woman. (1208-9)
Missing: 2
ENHLANGANO: (20 km SE of Tsholotsho town)
FEB 1983: 2 villagers from here were force-marched to Mananzwa line on the other side of Magama Mission, and then beaten before being shot dead. (1206-7)
FEB 1983: an old man mistaken for ZAPU chairman was very badly beaten. (1210)
Dead: 2
Beaten: 1
MATSHADULA (15 km south of Tsholotsho town):
FEB 1983: One Botswanan refugee taken and never seen again. (1676)
Missing: 1
MVUDHLANA: (5 km South of Tsholotsho town)
FEB 1983: a man from here went missing after visiting his mother further south. (1676)
Missing: 1
NKEZO: (near Tshanda):
**** SEPT 1985: several villagers beaten by dissidents, looking for a ZNA soldier. (1104-8, 1110-11)
Dead: 4
Beaten: 4 named victims, plus others
Burnt: 3 homesteads
**EARLY 1983: CCJP report of 5 schoolmistresses raped by the ZNA, and also a 16yr-old schoolgirl. (file B).
OCT 1983: man tortured by the Army and beaten for having raised ZIPRA combatants. (1732)
Raped: 6
Tortured: 1

From eyewitness accounts it is clear that Tsholotsho Business Centre showed obvious signs of the disturbance being caused by 5B in Tsholotsho as a whole. There are references to around 400 refugees camped permanently near the council offices, because their houses had been burnt down or because they thought they might be safer in a bigger centre. Many hundreds spent days queueing for Identity Cards, and also for ZANU-PF cards, without which they were likely to be shot. The safety many sought in Tsholotsho town proved elusive, with reports of young men in the town being rounded up, beaten, or executed at the nearby 5B camp. A variety of interviews and CCJP documents testify to this. (eg 609-11, 189, 1672-4, CCJP files B and E, all ff).
JAN 83: man taken from his workplace and never seen again. (444)
FEB 1983: mass beating and deaths at "the borehole" - is this the same incident as the deaths referred to at the "hospital tap"? (522 - CCJP refers to similar incident)
[FEB 83: many young men shot in a grave they had been made to dig themselves. Some of these were from other parts of Tsholotsho - this incident has already been recorded in the Pumula Mission section. (609-10-11) ]
Dead: several
Missing: 1
Beaten: ?
Another interviewee refers to being beaten for buying food, and says "they" were forced to dig their own grave, but she manages to escape before being killed. Number of people involved not clear, could be part of above incident. (1353)
MARCH 83: a man was assaulted by SU, just east of the centre. (3249)
**14 MARCH: CCJP reports between 600-700 women and children being loaded on to trucks and being taken away, and the same thing the next day. No men were around, destination remains unclear.
JUNE 1983: 3 store employees were taken from the CBD in a Puma to Mbamba Camp and were tortured, allegedly for phoning the store owners in Bulawayo and warning them 5B were still in the area. (1679-80-81)
1983: month unknown: member of ZNA taken and never seen again. (1200)
**4 FEB 1984: A Botswanan refugee was detained by 5B and was believed to have been shot. (file '84)
FEB 1985: 7 bodies were found on Tsholotsho football field, after the dead had been collected by landrover from their homes at night. This murder was a reprisal for murder of ZANU officials. (204)
SEPT 1985: a man abducted from Matola was tortured at Tsholotsho police camp and then drowned in the well. His wife was also badly assaulted. (189)
NOV 1985: A woman disappeared after release from detention. (185)
Dead: 9 known plus others
Missing: 2
Tortured: 3
Beaten: 2 known.
FEB 1983: several council employees taken by truck, were seen being beaten and killed. 7 named victims. (469-70, 1251-2, 1675
FEB 1985: 2 employees were abducted by CIO and never seen again. (114, 474)
**CCJP also refers (file B).
Dead: 7 known, plus others.
Missing: 2
** FEB 1983: CCJP document reporting dramatic increase in casualties who have been beaten or suffered GSW at the hands of the army. One victim is a survivor of a mass shooting at Madona (see below) and the CIO arrive at the hospital and remove this man "for interrogation". Same witness reports massive influx of refugees into the town. 3 named victims are reported as being severely beaten while walking to Tsholotsho from Madona. (file E)
Beaten: 3 named, many others indicated
GSW: 1, man then detained.
MADONA-LUPINDI- DOMBO VILLAGES: (1-7 km north of Tsholotsho town ):
FEB 1983: 5B referred to as "burning huts and killing people" in these 3 villages on 1st and 2nd Feb. At least one named victim was also killed at Manzamahle Dam to the east of Tsholotsho town on this day.
7 named villagers taken and never seen again, 2 killed in their houses, 2 homes burnt, homes of 4 other villagers plundered - Madona (1672-4, 1743-51 incl)
** EARLY 1983 : CCJP reports deaths of 10 people in Madona, 8 were shot and 2 were burnt to death in a hut. (file B - : file E also refers)
At least 2 homes burnt and 1 person killed - Dombo
(1670-71, 1672-73-74)
Homes burnt and people killed - Lupindi
FEB 1985: 2 villagers taken the same day 2 Council employees also disappeared (see above), never seen again. (1670-71)
Dead: 14 victims - plus others
Missing: 9 named
Burnt: 4 known homesteads plus others
plus 4 homes plundered
MUSIKAWA ( near Tsholotsho town)
**30 JAN 1983: CCJP document reports 12 shot dead here on this Sunday. Many others were beaten here on the same day.(file E)
Dead: 12
Beaten: 20 est
Apart from 5 Brigade units based at Tsholotsho town, there seems to have been an interrogation centre at Dhalamini Rest Camp to the west, and villages between Dhlamini and Tsholotsho town were repeatedly involved in 5 Brigade incidents.
MAGOTSHA: (between Tsholotsho town - 7 km away -and Emkayeni):
FEB 1983: Interviewee reports being involved in a mass beating here, on his way between the two centres. At least one shot dead. He talks of escaping from this after being beaten, to the hospital, where he witnesses 5 Brigade killing people at the "water tap" at the hospital. (522)
**3 FEB: CCJP also report a mass beating here, during which a man found driving a scotch cart is accused of buying cigarettes for dissidents and is shot dead. (file E)
Dead: 2 known - several, exact number unclear.
Beaten: 50 est.
EMKAYENI: (Approx 25 km NW of Tsholotsho town)
Very badly hit by 5 Brigade in early Feb 1983.
**EARLY FEB: 7 teachers killed and thrown into a pit latrine (CCJP file E).
Man sitting outside his house shot dead. (493)
7 FEB: mass beatings, burning of all homesteads, and 5 young men shot dead. (514, 529)
Some also died later from beating injuries. (521) This same group of 5B, numbering possibly 200, also hit Zibunkululu on this day, and several villagers from Emkayeni were later shot at Zibunkululu. (530-1)
12 FEB 83: a man was accused of running away from 5B and was beaten to death and robbed. (527)
MARCH 1983: many rounded up and beaten, then taken to Dhlamini Rest Camp, from where they never returned. One was a man on leave from SA. (501, 516-17, 524, 525)
Missing:4 known
Dead: 18 known
Beaten: 100 est
Huts burned: 15?
**MAY 1983: CCJP report of 10 schoolgirls being forced by 5B to have sex daily after school in the vicinity of Dhalamini Rest Camp. Exact villages of origin not on the document, to safeguard girls concerned.
Raped: 10
**** AUG 1984: Man beaten by 8 dissidents with sticks and a hammer for being a sellout. He died later. (504)
Dead: 1
Another man, date not clear, beaten until his ears bled, by 5B, for not revealing whereabouts of dissidents. (506).
Villager, time not clear, beaten by 5B at night, then was shot through the back of the head. (515)
Villagers, time not clear, beaten while herding cattle and tilling the land. (518)
Another taken by 5B while tilling, never seen again. (523)
Dead: 1
Missing: 1
Beaten: 5
ZIBINKULULU: (near Emkayeni: 20 km NW of Tsholotsho Town):
11 FEB 1983: Mass beating, shooting, and burning of huts, by huge group of 5 Brigade. 6 named victims. Some interviews estimate as many as 200 5B present, and say they were moved to Emkayeni before the beating. Some of the dead were picked up at Tsholotsho Beer Garden because their names were on a list. (360, 362, 366, 444, 530-531-526, 1185)
Dead: 8 named, possibly others.
Beaten: 50 est
Huts burned: ?
FEB 1983: the day after the beating, they detained a boy who had run away and killed him. (363)
APRIL 1983: another villager was detained, and never seen again. (365)
July 1983: a man was taken with a neighbour to Tsholotsho Town and detained at Makwinzini. They were tortured and beaten, then released. (364)
Missing: 1
Dead: 1
Beaten: 3 known
MATOLE (3 km NW of Emkayeni)
FEB 83: Villagers from here were also rounded up to Emkayeni on the 7th and beaten, and their houses were also burnt down. A man ferrying mealie-meal in a scotch cart was badly beaten.
Another villager, who passed 5B dressed as dissidents on the path, and then failed to report their presence, was killed by the same 5B men. (498, 528, 532, 536, 1244)
FEB 83: several villagers from Tula line were grouped in the bush and beaten with bayonets (3219-20)
MARCH 1984: 2 villagers were taken by a truck at night and never seen again. (533-4)
MARCH 1984:A man was beaten in front of his family, and then made to run away. He was shot in the back. (535)
Dead: 2
Missing: 2
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: several homesteads - 4 named
NYAMAZANA and MBUHULANA (approx 7 to 10 km SW of Matole)
FEB 83: villagers from these 2 lines were marched to Matole school. Dissidents shot at 5B and some villagers escaped. All the others were made to lie down and were beaten with logs.(5 named plus others ) After the beating, 9 homesteads were burnt (7 names). A man from here was detained. (3200-7)
Beaten:100 est
Burnt:9 homesteads
NGADZI and JOWA: (approx 30 km NW of Tsholotsho town, on a pan):
JAN 1983: People rounded from fields by 5 Brigade and beaten, first the women and then the men. References to "all " the houses being burned, some taken to Dhlamini Rest Camp, and never seen again. (499, 500-1-3, 505, 507-8, 520, 1726, 3283).
OCT, year unclear, another villager taken by 5B, brought back and shot at his kraal. (442)
Dead: 1
Missing: 3 known
Beaten: 50 est
Huts burned: 6 named homesteads plus others
MANONDWENI and MAZIBULALA: (10 km NW of Dhlamini Rest Camp):
FEB 1983: whole village of Manondweni force marched to Mazibulala and beaten all morning. At 2p.m. 2 men were killed, one for being the father of a ZAPU official. (1175-99 incl)
Dead: 2
Beaten: 100 est
1983: in the village of Emhlabeni, 1 homestead was burnt (3283).
NOV 1985: mass beating of all the young men from the villages of DLAKANIYA, BAYANI, TSHAYISANI (Mabhanda), EMHLABENI, XANIXANI, VAGASINI AND DHLAMINI. They were rounded up in groups of 30 or more and beaten, by 5B, first at the rest camp and then in Tsholotsho. They were released after several days. (206)
Beaten: 210 est
Burnt: 1 homestead
MONEMA: (6 km E of Dhlamini)
APRIL 1984: the army beat a man and smashed his radio. There is reference to several "fellow workers" being taken and never returning. (3215)
DLAKANIYA KRAAL: (approx 10 km east of Dhlamini Rest Camp):
END JAN 1983: a mass beating of several kraals, with at least one death.(675-678)
** CCJP has a Commission of Inquiry statement on this incident, in which villagers were forced to beat each other as well as being beaten by 5B. One villager was beaten to death. (fileA)
FEB 1983: A ZNA man on leave was taken and never seen again. (659)
Another villager, time not clear, possibly 1985 (see Hangapu) was picked up in a truck at night and never seen again. (660)
**** MARCH 1985: dissidents came to a homestead and demanded food. SU arrived and 2 villagers were killed in crossfire, and 1 injured. (694-6)
Dead: 3 known, possibly others
Missing: 2
GSW: 1
Beaten: 30 est
HANGAPU (just east of Dlakaniya)
MARCH 1985: 4 men were picked up on the same night from different kraals, and were never seen again. (662, 664, 695, 3306)
Missing: 4
GARIGARI: (3 km N of Hangapu)
****MARCH 1986: dissidents burnt down 3 homesteads completely. (3277-9)
Burnt:3 homesteads
MPANEDZIBA: (approx 20 km NE of Dhlamini Rest Camp):
FEB 1983: 5 Brigade were camped at their borehole at this time. It seems there were several incidents in a short time here.
EARLY FEB: several homesteads (11 known) were burnt, one killed, others beaten (668, 3280/1/4/5/6/8).
11 FEB: a woman was tortured and her house was burnt with her in it, although she survived. (1201)
25 FEB: villagers were all gathered together and beaten in the morning by one group of 5B. Then later the same day, another unit beat them again. This is different to the above incident, as interviewee refer to it as happening "after the huts were burnt". (661, 663, 668)
MARCH 1983: a young woman coming from the fields was asked to take her baby off her back and was then beaten until unconscious, by 5B. (665)
MARCH 1983: a ZNA soldier on leave was picked up by 5B and never seen again. (370)
EARLY 1983: an ex-ZIPRA from here was detained in Bulawayo where he was hiding, and was never seen again. (669)
APRIL 1984? This happened after victim had rebuilt his burnt hut. He was beaten, shot at, and then managed to stab 5B soldier with a knife. (666)
Another villager was taken off the bus at a month-end (pay day) and was never seen again. His wife was beaten. (667)
FEB 1985: 3 villagers were abducted by vehicle, and never seen again. (354, 368, 369)
1986: 2 villagers, one of them a small child injured by 5B. (543)
Dead: at least one
Missing: 6
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: 11 known homesteads
MOYENI (5 km SE of Mpanedziba)
**FEB 1983: 11 kraals were burnt - CCJP Comm of Inquiry statement. (file A, also 3289 3305).
On the same day, all the villagers from Moyeni and Maqetuka were taken to Moyeni and beaten. (3282)
Beaten: 100 est
Burnt: 11 homesteads
MAQETUKA: (due west of St Joseph's:)
FEB 83: 1 homestead was burnt here on the same day as Moyeni burning. (3282)
FEB 1985: 5 Brigade drove up and down the line knocking on every door, taking certain people, who were never seen again. (1097-98-99).
Missing: 3 plus others.
Burnt:1 homestead
MALINDI (12 km SE of Mpanedziba)
** APRIL 1983: CCJP has copies of Medical Records of victim who was first beaten near Tshabangu store and then taken with other men to Tsholotsho airstrip. Here he was tied to a tree and beaten, suffering permanent damage to use of arms. He was also given electric shocks to his testicles. He mentions 20 others (not all from his town) receiving similar treatment. Dated from May 83 - beating apparently in April 83. (file A - CI).
JULY 1985: 2 men were picked up by CIO and never seen again. (193-4)
Missing: 2
Tortured: 20
MAKALALE LINE (Chief Mswigana's area)
OCT 1984: a woman was raped and abducted by "soldiers", while her husband was a refugee in Botswana. She later died. (1729-30)
Dead: 1
Raped: 1
NEMBE (15 km NNW of Tsholotsho town):
MAY 1985: 4 beaten, and a homestead burnt, by 5B. (1217)
FEB 1983: 2 boys taken by 5B to Dhlamini Rest Camp and beaten. One never returned, and was rumoured to have been killed and buried there. (1668-69)
Missing: 1
Beaten: 6
Burnt: 1 homestead
MKUBAZI (20 km NNW of Tsholotsho town)
FEB 1983: villagers heard 5B vehicles coming to the dam and many ran away. Those that stayed were beaten, and 2 were killed, shot dead after the beatings. (3222-4)
MARCH 1983: 1 villager was beaten by 5B.
APRIL 1983: an old woman was accused of harbouring dissidents and beaten. 2 others died this same day. (3226, c-r 3231?)
MAY 1983: villagers brewed beer to appease their ancestors, and were accused of brewing for dissidents and beaten (3227-8).
JULY 1983: a villager at a beer drink was assaulted by 5B (3229).
**** JULY 1983: dissidents shot one villager dead and beat his wife. (537)
1983: a villager going to buy cigarettes at the store was shot dead by 5B (3230) Another villager disappeared, last seen running away from 5B. (3231 -c-r 3226?)
1987: a man who owned his own grinding mill was assaulted for "feeding dissidents", by ZNA. His grinding mill was destroyed, and he was badly injured in the groin.
Dead: 5
Beaten: 50 est?
PONDO: (6 km north of Mkubazi)
JUNE 83: an old man was detained by 5B and tied to a treee all night. He was assaulted, breaking a rib, taken to various camps and then to Tsholotsho CBD wwhere he was kept in a pit for 7 days. He was assaulted throughout this time, then released. (3242)
JULY 83: another old man from here was accused of growing fat on cattle originally stolen from Mashonaland (a reference to Ndebele plundering in the 19th century). He was taken by puma and never seen again, along with another man from Malindi line.
Missing: 2
SOMQIBE: (13 km NNW of Tsholotsho town)
FEB 83: A ZNA soldier was beaten by 5B and then taken to Dugwe school and killed. (464)
APRIL 83: an old woman was woken and bayonetted by 5B, and her son was dragged out of bed and shot dead. (3240-1)
Dead: 2
LUTIBA: (7 km SW of Tsholotsho town)
MARCH 83: Villager taken by 5B and never seen again. (471)
Missing: 1
SONTAMBA (15 km W of Tsholotsho town)
FEB 84: CIO took away an old man and he was never seen again. (468)
MARCH 1983 A man who saw 5B coming ran home and warned his family to flee. He stayed behind to buy them time, and was killed. (351)
Dead: 1
Missing: 1
MATSWAHENI: (18 km due W of Tsholotsho town):
NOV 1985: 5 people killed by CIO disguised? (538)
Dead: 5
NTULULA (approx 30 km due W of Tsholotsho Town):
1 FEB 1983: a woman fetching water was shot dead and so was her baby, by 5B. They beat her father who came looking for her. Then they came back and bayonetted the father and his nephew to death, as well as burning huts. (563-4-5)
4 FEB: All the villagers were rounded up and beaten by 5B, some beaten to death - 2 named deaths. Huts were also burnt. (546, 556,)
JUNE 1983: villager reports 5B beating villagers and burning several homesteads - could be above incident, with wrong date? (2440)
**** MARCH 84 2 Dissidents killed a ZNA member by cutting off his testicles and his head. They also killed his mother and brother, as sell-outs. (355)
Dead: 9 known, plus others
Beaten: 50 est
Burned: 4 homesteads plus others
MABELE: (4 km NNW of Tshitashawa)
EARLY 83: 5B took 2 men away. One returned and reported the other had been killed and buried. 5B stole property. (3221)
TSHITASHAWA (approx 10 km N of Ntulula):
FEB 1983: Teacher assaulted and property stolen.
3 others, one aged 14 gunned down in this area and buried separately. (file H)
SEPT 1986: dissidents passed through this area and the next day 5B came and stole some property and hit one villager on the side of his head. (1124, 1250).
Dead: 3
Beaten: 2
ENSEDHLWINI (4 km ESE of Tshitashawa)
JUNE 83: 5B beat the whole line for several hours, allegedly for failing to report dissidents. At least one homestead was burnt. (3216-17)
Beaten:50 est
Burnt:1 homestead
ST JOSEPH'S SCHOOL: (East Central, 30 km S of Tsholotsho town):
2 FEB 1983: everyone was marched by 5B to a nearby pool, 2 women "tortured", 6 shot dead, others beaten.
MARCH 1983: 1 villager went missing. (809)
Missing: 1
Dead: 6
Beaten: 50 est
NKWIZHU (2 km SW of St Joseph's School):
APRIL 1983: man beaten and tortured, and house burnt down for failing to inform 5 B of dissident presence. (1735)
Beaten: 1
Burnt: 1
MANAWENI: (nr St Joseph's school):
MARCH 1983: 2 killed, one woman had her head chopped off, and her homestead burnt, by 5B.
Dead: 2
Burned: 1 homestead
JIMILA (5 km W of St Joseph's)
JAN 1983: 5 Brigade burnt down many houses here. In Jan and Feb they also shot 8 men, several in one incident and others in separate incidents.(2415 - 2435 incl)
JUNE 1983: a villager was taken away by 5B and shot. (2421)
** 21 JUNE 1983: Builders ran away from 5B and one was killed.
CCJP case files name 9 dead here in 1983, and 10 property losses, and 1 assault
Dead: 9
Beaten: 1
Burnt: 10
NTULANI (? Amnesty refers)
JAN 1985: 2 men were detained from here. (1196-7)
Detained: 2
MGUZANA (?Amnesty refers)
JAN 1985: 2 men were detained from here. (199-200)
Detained: 2
SPINGWINI - MAGAMA: (15 km SE of Tsholotsho town):
MARCH 1983: 5 Brigade abducted several men, after severely beating several villagers and destroying property. They chopped off one man's arms and legs and came back the next day and shot him. At least one other was killed, and several taken were never seen again.
JAN 1985: a villager was detained here. (198)
Dead: 2 known
Missing: several, one named.
Beaten: 5 ?
Detained: 1
TSHAYISANI: (15 due south of Janiza)
****AUG 82: 6 villagers reported the presence of dissidents. The Army attacked the dissidents, who returned and beat them, killing 1 villager, and cutting off the ear of one. (3214)
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997


1. Archival Data - The Chronicle, including quantification of dissident atrocities
2. Data Integration Data Integration - CCJP Archives and Interviews in 1995-6
3. Summary of 5 Brigade Impact on Tsholotsho
4.Overview of Human Rights Abuses, Nyamandlovu/ Tsholotsho
5. Village by village summary of events, incorporating maps of sub-regions
1.)Pumula Mission - western Tsholotsho
2.)Mbamba Camp - southern Tsholotsho
3.)Central Tsholotsho
4.)Northern Tsholotsho
5.)Commercial farms in the south
6.)Commercials farms, forestry and resettlement in the east.
6.Table summarising atrocities by sub-region







Along the railway line: Many incidents at the railway sifings near Gwayi, including Mpindo and Mlagisa, involving mass beatings and shootings. Villagers from surrounding areas were sometimes taken to the railway line and then beaten and killed. (640, 448)
(617, 635, 644, 647-9, 653, 582, 623, 624, 640)
**CCJP case files (MCF)reports names of 2 dead and 1 assaulted here in 1983
Deaths: 6 known, plus others
Beaten: 10 named victims
Mass beatings: 4 mass beatings referred to.
EGCENI: (above Sipepa, between Mlagisa and Mpindo sidings):
**1 FEB 1983: CCJP reports that 50 people were estimated dead here, and the rest severely beaten. This may be a mass killing at Mlagisa railway siding, as this is very close by? (file B)
SEPT 1983: Three young men were taken by 5B, first beaten in their village and then taken to Dhlamini Rest Camp, where they were allegedly killed. (446, 453, 492)
Dead: 50 est.
Missing: 3
Beaten: 50 est
MPINDO LINE: (approx 15 km NW of Regina Mundi, on the railway line)
FEB 1983: all the villagers were called together and were beaten. 7 were selected and shot dead. One escaped with a gunshot wound, and 5B came back and burnt down his very large homestead of 25 huts. (2469-72)
Dead: 6
GSW: 1
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: 1 homestead
FUNDA: (3 km due N of Mpindo Siding):
FEB 1983: Villagers heard firing and ran away. 5B came and burnt their houses down. (410, 454)
Burnt: several homesteads
MPINJWANA LINE: (approx 20 km N of Mlagisa):
2 FEB 1983: All the young and old men were assembled and beaten. 8 were shot, all named. (589-597, 687) St Lukes hospital records also refer.
2 MARCH 1983:At nearby Stezi line, a girl was beaten and her boyfriend was shot dead. (598)
Dead: 9
Beaten: 50 est
BAYI BAYI: (above Mlagisa town):
JULY 1984 (?): All the men in the village were rounded into a swamp and beaten, and the kraalhead killed by 5B. (646-579)
Another villager was badly beaten on another occasion. (654)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 30 est
MLAGISA TOWN:(approx 20 km N of Gwayi Mission):
3 FEB 1983: 7 including women badly beaten. (619-642)
One of the interviews refers to beatings on 8 FEB: this may be another incident, or the same as the above. (643)
10 FEB: a villager was taken away by 5B and shot dead. (645)
11 FEB: a villager ran away when he saw 5B coming, so his wife was shot to punish him. (674)
Dead: 2
Beaten: 7 plus possibly others.
XABAMUDE LINE: (at Mataphula, near Mlagisa town):
MARCH 1983: Men beaten (620, 1731)
?**** APRIL 1983: one villager taken away by "plain clothed armed men" after a beating and then shot dead. (621)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 10 est
EMABANDENI KRAAL: (approx 20 km N of Gwayi Mission):
15 FEB 1983: 5 Brigade burned homes. Some villagers ran away, but most were rounded up and beaten and then 10 men and women were shot one by one. (679-687)
**CCJP also reports names of 2 killed here. (file B).
Dead: 10
Beaten: 40 est
MANGWATU: (approx 15 km N of Gwayi Mission):
9 FEB 1983: The villagers heard screaming and shooting in the neighbouring village and ran away. They saw 5B come and burn all the houses. 5B returned some days later and said they burnt the homes because they supported dissidents. (411,414)
Burnt: many homesteads.
MALILA ( approx 13 km N of Gwayi Mission)
2 FEB 1983: The soldiers found 2 women preparing lunch and accused them of cooking for dissidents. They shot one dead. They took the daughter into the bush and raped her all night. The other, who was pregnant was beaten with all the other villagers. (650-51-52, 2460)
Dead: 1
Raped: 1
Beaten: 20?
TSHAYAMATOLE ( Just E of Malila and Mangwatu)
**CCJP case files name 11 dead here in 1983.
FEB 1983: a big group of 5B moved through the area, forcing people from their homes into the road, where many were beaten. Some were forced to strip naked before beating, and one was burnt with plastic. One was shot and left for dead. Some villagers managed to run away and many homesteads were burnt down. (406-9 incl, 415)
12 FEB 1983: 5B went to several individual kraals beating and shooting people. At one kraal, 4 adults and 3 small children aged 11 years, 2 years and 1 year old were shot dead. (2473-80 incl).
2 other children aged 4 years and 2 years were shot dead at another kraal. (2482-3)
At least 2 homesteads were burnt down, and everyone in the line deserted the area. (2481)
MARCH 1983: 30 5B returned and beat villagers for the whole day. At night they fitted lights to their heads, chose 6 men and shot them. 3 were killed. (682, 2484-5)
AUG 1983: 2 men and a woman were very badly beaten by 5B, looking for dissidents. (2205-7 incl)
Dead: 13
Tortured: 1
Beaten: 50
GSW: 1
Burnt: many homesteads, more than 8
MJUMI: (approx 12 km NE of Gwayi Mission)
FEB 1983: villagers saw 5B coming and ran away and caught the train to Bulawayo. When they returned they found houses burnt down. (412)
AUG 1983: A small group of 5B came on foot and beat many villagers. They also raped a girl, leaving her pregnant. (405)
Raped: 1
Beaten: 15?
Burnt: at least 1 homestead
MASHADE ( 1 km above Sipongweni)
**FEB 1983: a villager was accused of being a dissident and shot.
Dead: 1
SIPONGWENI: (approx 12 km NE of Gwayi Mission):
** 31 JAN 1983: CCJP: 3 brothers found together were shot and killed. A fourth was wounded.
A man herding cattle in this area in FEB 83 was also killed. 2 boys from this village were among those pulled from the trains and shot in FEB. (file B)
**CCJP case files names 4 dead - could be some of the above.
MARCH 1983: 5B arrived in the village one morning and ordered everyone to the school, where they were stripped naked and were beaten. 3 5B returned some nights later, and one stole property while the other 2 raped the young girls (no number). They were all then also beaten very badly. (416)
MARCH 1983: A villager caught coming back from the store was marched away and then bayonetted to death. (655)
APRIL 1984: one villager taken away by soldiers, remains of body returned 3 years later. (2458)
FEB 1985: the kraal head was shot dead by 10 soldiers. (2459)
Dead: 7
Beaten: 40? some twice.
Raped: more than 2
Property: stolen
SIKALE: (approx 10 km NE of Gwayi Mission):
**1 FEB 1983: CCJP reports "more than 5 shot dead" here between 31 Jan and 1 Feb 1983. (file B).
20 FEB 1983: 6 5B arrived in the village and asked for someone by name. They then shot him in cold blood, and killed 2 other villagers, and seriously injured a 3rd. (421-2, 625-28)
On the same day they detained a villager they met walking in the area, and his bones were found in the bush in 1984, recognisable because of the shoes. (436)
Another villager was also shot in this area on this day. (440)
Another young man who ran away at this time was never seen again. (633)
Dead: 10
Missing: 1
NKWALINI (just E of Gwayi Mission)
FEB 1983: a man from here, trying to take his wife away to Bulawayo, was shot dead at MLAGISA siding, and so was his wife because she cried when she saw him shot. (641-2)
**CCJP report on events between 31 Jan and 8 Feb 83 refers to 4 killed here, and 2 thoroughly beaten. (file B).
Dead: 4
Beaten: 2
GWAYI ( just E of Gwayi Mission, near Regina Mundi Mission)
**FEB 1983: CCJP reports 4 primary girls, average age 13, raped in front of their parents. Next day 18 families left the area. There is also reference again to mass beatings of all getting off the train at the siding here, and to the deaths of 50, recorded above under EGCENI.
Another report, same file, (B) refers to women being forced to have sex with soldiers before being allowed to board the trains.
FEB 1983: a man detained here ultimately disappeared. (107)
Missing: 1
Raped: 4 known, plus others.
Beaten: 50 est
Detained: 1
SIPEPA AREA: (10 km W of Gwayi Mission):
**31 JAN 1983: CCJP refers to all villagers being gathered and told of curfew. One person carrying mealie meal was shot on sight and injured. 2 curfew breakers were shot dead on sight. 5B told them they would come looking for any ex-combatants, ZAPU officials, or refugees, in every kraal. The same day, schoolchildren on their way home from Sipepa and Gwayi were beaten and so were teachers. One teacher was shot and injured. (file B).
**3 FEB 1983: CCJP reports one policeman shot dead and another wounded and smuggled away by colleagues to Byo - they were ex-combatants. (file B)
** diff list, same file, (B) refers to 6 dead, one boy beaten and wounded with a bullet, and a headman beaten.
6 schoolgirls from Sipepa were raped and not allowed to go to hospital. Soldiers referred to as going door to door and raping any women found alone at night. (file B)
FEB 1983: Whole village forced to dig roots, some were then beaten, and 2 schoolboys who looked too old for their class were shot dead. (629-631).
One woman raped, had money stolen. she went to Byo to join her husband, and their home was destroyed in their absence. (1684-5)
10 FEB: the villagers ran away when they heard 5B, and one failed to return ever. (633)
There is also a report of a homestead burnt in Feb 1983. (2468)
MARCH 1983: 9 men from surrounding villages were badly beaten at the police station, by 5B. (616)
Missing: 1
Dead: 6
Raped : 7 plus others
GSW: 4
Beaten: 100 est
Burnt: 1 homestead
FEB 1983 - SIPEPA CLINIC: 2 5B soldiers entered the clinic in the morning, and shot dead a hospital clerk who was an ex-combabtant. (445 : CCJP also refers - file B)
Also in 1983, a ZRP member was beaten and gagged with sand by 5 Brigade, was unconscious for 3 months. (241)
**FEB 1983: a whole family of 7 was killed behind the clinic. (file B).
OCT 1983: man shot dead in the back in cold blood. (1718)
DEC 1983: 3 women very badly beaten in front of whole village.(1736-37)
**FEB 1984: CCJP report detentions of many by the CIO, and the shooting of one girl in the leg. 5B was also knocking at doors at 1a.m. announcing their intention to kill people.
Dead: 9
Detained: ?
Beaten: 4
GSW: 1
KAPUKA ( 1 km E of Sipepa)
A 75 year-old man was shot in his fields by 5B, time not clear. (486)
**CCJP report 31 Jan to 8 Feb refers to 5 people killed here.
Dead: 5
MKETWA (near Sipepa): END JAN 83:
JAN 1983: a man from here was beaten, taken to the fields and shot dead by 5B. (1686)
A couple were badly beaten, one killed, in their kraal, in front of family who then ran away. (1686-7)
** CCJP refer to what seems to be the above incident, and also add that a student who was an ex-Botswanan refugee was taken from school and also shot with the man killed above. (file B).
At another kraal, one villager was badly beaten, then they returned and beat his wife, wanted to rape her but she ran away while they were shooting another villager. (1689-90)
FEB 83: a man was shot in his doorway while trying to hand over his ID card to 5B. (447)
Dead: 4
Beaten: 3
DIBUTIBU: (Near Mpindo-Sipepa):
LATE JAN: a villager was beaten unconscious by 5B because he was cutting wood. (656)
2 FEB 1983: Several families beaten, 7 shot dead, one injured, by 5B. (596, 240, 643, 3245).
Dead: 7
GSW: 1
Beaten: 50 est
JAKALASI (near Sipepa):
FEB 1983 Whole village rounded up and beaten, at least 2 shot dead. (487, 491, 512, 1682)
A man was shot while working in his fields. (494)
Another villager was shot dead in his room in Gwayi. (513)
Dead: 4
Beaten: 50 est
**** JAN 1983: dissidents beat 4 villagers as sell-outs. One died. (488-89-90)
A relative came to visit one of the injured, and was killed at EMGOLWENI, on her way to Mpindo Siding. (489)
Dead: 1(diss) 1 (army)
Beaten: 3 (diss)
EMGOLWENI ( 10 km NW of Sipepa)
FEB 1983: interviewee refers to 2 shot dead "with others', everyone being beaten and their homestead being burnt. (510-11)
** FEB 1983: CCJP refers to 5 killed here - presume same case as above. (file B)
Dead: 5
Beaten: 10?
Burnt: 1 homestead.
KAPANE (approx 20 km W of Gwayi Mission)
**CCJP case files name 6 dead here and one loss of property here in 1983
FEB 1983: 3 ex-ZIPRAS were shot by 5B, one name. (639)
MARCH 83: 5B assaulted all the big pupils in the school. The girls were then taken for raping, more than 50 of them. They were raped repeatedly over the nest few months, until the army left the area. Some fell pregnant and others ran away and never went back to school. (3 named rape victims: 3314-17)
1983: after a "pungwe', 4 people including one very elderly woman were badly beaten by 5B because their surname was the same as a man 5B had killed. (622).
1983: several families were very badly beaten by 5B. At least 2 men were shot dead and their wives ordered to laugh and then bury their "dogs". (2442-5 incl)
Dead: 7
Beaten: 100 est
Property: 1
KEPANYANE (approx 5 km W of Kepane)
FEB 1983: villagers were rounded up by 5B and all beaten, men and women. One woman was raped. The older people were then ordered to go home, and the younger adults were shot. Shooting was heard for some time. Names of 4 dead. (2436-37, 2446, 3329-30)
Dead: 4
Raped: 1
Beaten: 50 est
ZIGA (approx 7 km NW of Kepane)
**CCJP case files names 1 dead here in 1983
Dead: 1
ZANDILE ( approx 15 km NNW of Kepane)
FEB 1983: all the villagers were rounded up by 5B and badly beaten. One was then chosen and 5B told others to look at him die. They shot him dead. (2438-39)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 50 est
NGAMO (approx 40 km NW of Gwayi, on the railway line)
FEB 1983: 4 villagers were shot by 5B. 2 were beaten first, one was shot in his yard and his brother was taken away for shooting the next day. (2462-5)
**CCJP case files reports names of same 4 dead here in 1983 and 1 dead in 1984
SEPT 1983: a villager from another village was shot dead for curfew breaking. (637)
Dead: 6
SEWELA (approx 10 km S of Ngamo)
3 FEB 1983: all the villagers were rounded up to the borehole and were beaten. 3 men were selected and shot dead. 5B soldiers continued to beat the dead men and to laugh at them. 2 houses were also burnt down.
Dead: 3
Beaten: 30 plus
Burned: 2 homesteads
JANIZA: (approx 25 km due W of Gwayi Mission):
5 FEB 1983: Mass assembling of villagers for beating by 5B. One interviewee shot and injured. (618)
One interview refers to a mass beating by 5B at Janiza Hall in early March - could be same as above. (671)
MARCH 1983: a villager was taken away to Nyamandlovu and given electric shock treatment. When he was released he found his home burnt down. (673)
MARCH 1983: the ZAPU chairman was taken by 5B: as he left, he told his family he was already a dead man. He has not been seen again. (638)
APRIL: 5B soldiers slaughtered and ate a cock and goat in the area. (449)
Time not clear: a villager was accused of giving dissidents a "charm", and was thrown alive into a fire, at Kepane, and then shot while burning. (672)
A man from Janiza was shot dead in Plumtree, where he was working. (636).
NOV 83: 10 men and women were beaten by 5B with hoe handles, at the borehole. Interviewee complains of loose teeth and poor vision. They also killed a goat and ate it. (3323, 3327)
Dead: 2
Missing: 1
Tortured: 1
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: 1 homestead
GWEMBGWA ( near Janiza)
**** APRIL 1983: dissidents ordered the villagers to feed them, and then 5B arrived and fired at them.The villagers ran away, but one was killed: genuine crossfire. (657).
Dead: 1
NHOBATSHINADANKA and MTSHAYELI: (30 km W of Gwayi Mission)
APRIL 1983: Villagers from Nhobatshinadanka were rounded up and marched to Mtsheyeli, after at least one homestead was burnt. At Mtsheyeli they were all severely beaten. The son of one of the victims on his way home from school for the holidays was taken from a bus and shot because he had no ID card. They do not know where he was buried. (451-2)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 40 ?
Burnt: 1 homestead
BONKE (near Mtshayeli)
APRIL 1983: a woman was beaten and her husband taken away and killed at neighbouring Nxamabude line. (2461)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 1
[** JULY 1982: CCJP reports the rape of 4 girls, one teacher and one domestic worker, by Army personnel. (yellow ZNA file)]
**3 FEB 1983: CCJP report from priest, of Army in the area refusing him permission to collect and bury the dead. A man he is giving a lift to is made to get out of the priest's car, and he finds this man beaten very severely a few hours later.
**10 FEB 1983: CCJP report from priest in charge of mission, on mission staff being brutalised by 10 armed, drunk 5B soldiers. Around 30 people were beaten, the priest was threatened, and he refers to them as out of control, and contradicting one another. Many civilians who had come to the mission for protection ran away into the bush after this, including the sick and wounded. People are referred to as starving, and food shortage is critical. (file B)
**16 FEB 1983: CCJP priest in charge reports further beating of mission workers, but this time some of 5B stationed at the mission intervene to stop it. (file B).
**25 FEB 1983: CCJP reports the raping of 2 more girls - the youngest one haemorrhaged for 5 days. (file B)
Raped: 4 (1982) plus 2 (1983)
Beaten: 40
ST MARK'S (2 km from Regina Mundi)
** FEB 1983: CCJP report refers to people being beaten up and one teacher having a broken arm. (file B)
Beaten: several
MALOBA ( approx 10 km SW of Gwayi Mission)
JAN 1983: Many villagers were gathered together and beaten for saying they did not know where the dissidents were. (1693-94)
Beaten: 50 est
MCETSHWA (approx 15 km SSW of Gwayi Mission)
JAN 83: 5B forced whole village to one kraal, where they had to sing songs all night. They returned the next day and destroyed property, burning several homesteads. (1688, 2449-50)
**1 FEB 1983: CCJP 3 people were beaten, young lady teachers were raped and then beaten (no number of victims given). (file B)
10 FEB 1983: Many 5B soldiers rounded up all villagers to a nearby dam, where many were beaten. One woman miscarried as a result. Some men were chosen and beaten, and were then made to run before they were shot dead. Many villagers fled the area afterwards. (423-24-25, 2447-8)
**CCJP case files names of 3 dead, 2 assaulted and 3 property losses here in 1983.
Dead: 5
Raped: several
Beaten: 10 named, 50 est
Burnt: 3 homesteads
PUMULA LINE: (7 km west of Mcetshwa)
AUG 83: 5B followed footprints from Tabagwa nearby to this line. They beat 9 villagers, including women, and burnt one hut. (3319)
****APRIL 85: a man here reported dissidents and so the dissidents came looking for him. In his absence they beat his wife and burnt his hut. (3320)
Burnt:2 huts
NYELESI: (beyond Pumula Line)
AUG 83: same incident as Aug '83 above: 5B came through the line looking for dissidents and badly beat one person and burnt one homestead.
Burnt:1 homestead
MBANYANA (approx 12 km S of Gwayi Mission)
**1 FEB 1983: CCJP reports the whole village was rounded up and 2 were shot dead and another received gunshot wounds. All the villagers present, aged between 20-40 were forced to strip completely naked, both men and women. They were then beaten savagely. Then all the older people were also beaten, but not quite so badly.
Dead: 2
GSW: 1
Beaten: 50 estimate
MAHLABA ( approx 13 km S of Gwayi Mission)
** 9-11 FEB 1983: CCJP reports 3 girls raped and then later shot dead. (file B)
There is also reference to one villager thoroughly beaten but still alive.
Dead: 3
Raped: 3
TSHINU and BANGAMAKUNI: (approx 15 km south of Gwayi Mission):
5 FEB: villagers were taken to the borehole and were badly beaten. 3 women had to be carried home and all 3 later died after days in agony. (2451-55-56)
At Hlabekisa Line nearby a villager was badly beaten and at least 2 homesteads burnt down. (2453-4)
11 FEB 1983: Villagers were taken by 5 pumas to the school yard, where they were beaten, men and women - 9 homesteads were burnt, and one villager was burnt in his house and died 3 months later. 5B came back the next day to make sure all the houses were completely destroyed. (1211-12, 1698-1711 incl, 1714-15-16, 1727-28, 1738)
MARCH 1984: A dip tank assistant was beaten (1725)
**CCJP case files name 3 dead here in 1983.
Dead: 4
Beaten: 50 est, some twice
Burnt: 11 homesteads
MANZAMAHLE (approx 3 km S of Tshinu)
FEB 1983: villagers force-marched to Tshinu, where 5B made them lie down and beat them. This might have been the same day as above, and involved all the women as well as the men. 1 named victim shot dead, plus others referred to. One house burnt, others plundered. (1739 41,1721-22)
**** Victims refer to being beaten by dissidents in 1985. (1739)
Also in FEB 1983: 2 villagers killed by 5B, one in her hut, and one caught in the fields milking, who was shot. (1717)
Dead: 3
Beaten: 50 est
Burnt: 1 homestead, others robbed.
MAKO (approx 12 km SSE of Tshinu)
FEB 1983: 1 villager badly beaten and another shot dead. (1733)
TSHAYILE: (approx 30 km due S of Gwayi Mission)
1983: The headmaster of the school was badly assaulted, and other staff members were beaten. A week later, their house in nearby TSHINU was raided, property destroyed. Victims ran away to Byo and when they returned in 1986 all the furniture was missing. (1712-13)
Beaten: 5
Property: furniture destroyed

The resettlement areas to the east of Tsholotsho were affected by both dissidents and by 5B. Most deaths here were at the hands of 5B, but dissidents detroyed property. The dissidents were opposed to the Government resettlement policy, and burned down resettled villages to make a political statement. Villagers were often caught in the middle of this conflict: dissidents would burnt down their homes and then flee, and then army forces would arrive and arrest and "interrogate" the locals for information. Several interviews on file testify to this pattern. In addition to this, resettled villagers were also subjected to 5B brutality in early 1983, as were most parts of Northern Matableland.
Eastern Nyamandlovu is also where the dissidents ambushed and abducted 6 foreign tourists, in 1982, and it was later established that they were murdered and buried close to their place of abduction, although their grave is in Lupane and not Nyamandlovu.
Abducted: 6
FEB 1983: 1 man shot by 5B and his neighbour's homestead of 10 huts burned down. The neighbour escaped death by directing 5B in opposite direction, when they asked for him by name.
AUG 1985: The son of this man was picked up by CIO and badly tortured (1696-7)
FEB 1983: a lad found milking was accused of being ZIPRA, was asked to bend down and was shot in the head. (441)
FEB 1983: 5B called a pungwe, and one soldier fired off his gun, killing a woman. (631)
**FEB 1983: CCJP files report 5 children aged between 7 and 12 who were shot dead by 5B while sitting in front of their hut by themselves eating sadza. (file A)
**** OCT 1984: a man was assaulted twice by groups of dissidents, and fled to Bulawayo. He was detained by police for 21 days and released. (287)
Dead: 8 inc 5 children (5B)
Tortured: 1
Beaten: 1 (diss)
**** These villages were burnt out by dissidents. Homes and the local school were razed, and villagers were also beaten.
[Exact date of when this happened is conflicting. Some reports say June 83 and some June 85. As incident is identically reported in all cases, it is fair to assume one not two incidents took place. The Chronicle reports mass burning of houses at a mine in July 83 in Nyamandlovu (141) - this does not seem to be the same affair. There is also, on 26 Sept 1985, a Chronicle report of dissidents setting ablaze a schoolblock, 4 teachers' houses and several villagers' huts in the Nyamandlovu area - this sounds like it could well be the same incident. CCJP also refers to dissidents destroying resettled villages in 1983, but this is most likely Lupane, where villages in 1983 were destroyed by dissidents in the Mbembesi Forestry Area. (417-420 incl, 427-434 incl)
The Army arrived on the scene of the above and the dissidents fled. The army then picked up several villagers, whom they took to their camp and beat. They were made to dig a grave, and one villager was killed. Rain then stopped the proceedings. (435)
Dead: 1 (killed by army)
Beaten: 8 named victims, (by dissidents), and several others (by army).
Burnt: 12 known homesteads
JAN 1983: 5B arrived in the area and shot one villager in the fields who said he worked in SA. They also burnt his house. (437-8)
FEB 1983: 4 soldiers came into the village and took one man and shot him dead. (439).
Dead: 2
Burnt: 1 homestead
1983: 5B took men from their homes into the bush, where they beat them severely and then buried them while still alive. Name of 1 dead. (2408)
One man who worked for the forestry commission was taken by the army. They first took him to say goodbye to his family, and he was never seen again. (426)
**FEB 1983: CCJP reports raping of 3, one a young schoolgirl, after they were taken off the train here by 5B. (file B).
Dead: 1 plus others
Missing: 1
Raped: 3
3 FEB 1983: A family of 8 were beaten by 5B. They did not burn the huts down because it was raining. (413)
Beaten: 8
JUNE 85: 2 tourists killed, by dissidents
Dead: 2
Some of the following incidents were recounted in interviews with commercial farmers, and therefore have no case number as reference.
1983: several farm employees were beaten and detained by 5B after feeding dissidents. (858)
****JUNE 83: A farmer and his foreman and two other workers were shot and killed, and two others were injured, by dissidents.
**** APRIL 86: This report accuses 5 Brigade of posing as dissidents and then holding up a bus at gunpoint. The bus was burnt and a widow with 6 kids was shot dead. (1329) Commercial farmers remember this bus burning, but can shed no light on who the perpetrators were.
(This report does not correspond clearly with any bus burning reported in The Chronicle - there were no buses burnt in 1986 according to CH, and none in April of any year. However there were buses held up often in this area, and always attributed to dissidents.)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 3 ?
Time unclear - many women who had been cutting thatching grass were beaten for 6 hours by 5B from 2 pumas. (859)
Beaten: 20?
PETERSEN'S FARM - Nyamandlovu.
NOV 1983 Several farm workers beaten and one homestead burnt down by 5B, accused of keeping dissidents. (1734)
Beaten: several
Burnt: 1 homestead
1983: 5B came to the farm and accused workers of feeding dissidents. They beat them until one died. A woman went insane from the beating, and others were hospitalised. (1691-2)
Dead: 1
Beaten: 2 plus others
SEPT 83: labourers assaulted by 5B.
Beaten: ?
1983: elderly farm labourer beaten by 5B
Beaten: 1
**** Dissidents crushed a farm worker's head, killing him. They also shot dead 2 other workers, and injured 2. They then went on to "kill the master."
Dead: 4
GSW: 2
1984-5: time not clearly remembered, but the rancher here found 15 human skeletons in a remote area: this sounds like 5B.
**** JULY 83: a farm worker who reported a dissident presence was in turn reported by others to the dissidents, who beat him and then shot him dead.
Dead: 1
FEB 83: dissidents spent the night on the farm, and the next day 5B arrived and beat those living there, and burnt their house. (1249)
APRIL 83: an ex-ZIPRA now in the ZNA came to visit his family here and was assaulted by 5B, breaking his collar-bone. (3251)
1987: an employee from Teak Dale was forcibly resettled by the army, who destroyed his granary. (3307)
Beaten: 6?
Burnt: 1 homestead, 1 granary
FEB 1983: 5B badly beat the foreman for denying knowing any dissidents. The farm manager arrived and took him to hospital.
Beaten: 1
SEPT 83: labourers assaulted by 5B, on the same day as labourers on New Cross Farm and Cedar Park.
Beaten: 5?
SEPT 83: labourers assaulted by 5B.
Beaten: 5?
NOV 1984: the owner who was an MP was murdered, allegedly by the army. His son was detained with 6 others for 2 weeks. (340-1)
Dead: 1
Detained: 6
OCT 85: a farmer and his wife were shot and killed and so was their foreman - perpetrator dissidents.
Dead: 3
AUG 87: a farmer on his way to a cattle sale was shot dead and so was his militia man.
Dead: 2
OCT 87: a farmer and his wife were ambushed and sustained serious injuries, the wife sustaining permanent brain damage. Their militia man was killed.
Dead: 1
Injured: 2
NGOMA BOTTLE STORE (Nyamandlovu town)
**** AUG 1982: man killed by dissidents. (2248)
Dead: 1(diss)
NGOMA TOWNSHIP (Nyamandlovu Town)
MARCH 1983: a man was beaten until his ears bled by 5B for saying he had no daughters at home. (1233)
Beaten: 1
Note: Beatings are counted separately from other forms of physical torture to highlight their prevalence: numbers in "mass beatings" are estimated separately from incidents in which a few, specifically numbered/named victims were beaten, hence the two totals for beatings in each listing. A conservative estimate of 50 per mass beating was decided on.
GSW - gun shot wound
BAYONET W - bayonet wound

DEAD: 333 known, plus others implied
BEATEN:45+ named victims
MASS BEATINGS:22 villages experienced this - estimated 1100 villagers involved.
BURNINGS:148 homesteads - involves 11 villages where many or all homes were burnt

7 of the above burnings involved the burning to death of people, ranging in number from 1 to 30 per incident.
DEAD:94 known plus others implied
BEATEN:86+ named victims
MASS BEATINGS:5 villages experienced this - estimated 250 villagers involved
BURNINGS:10 homesteads - NO reports of entire villages burnt.
NO reports of people burned in huts

DEAD:124 known plus others implied
BEATEN:43+ named victims
MASS BEATINGS:18 villages experienced this - estimated 900 villagers involved
BURNINGS:55 homesteads - involves 9 villages where many or all homes were burnt
2 reports of people burnt in huts, 1 in each case
DEAD:206 known plus others implied
BEATEN:74+ named
MASS BEATINGS:25 villages experienced this - estimated 1250 villagers involved
(3 of these incidents involved everyone stripping naked first)

4 railway siding beatings - estimated 200 involved
BURNINGS:54 homesteads - involves 4 villages where many or all homes were burnt.
1 report of person in a hut which was burnt
BURNINGS:15 homesteads - also burning of clinic and school

These figures exclude people forcibly removed from one village to another venue close by, such as an adjacent village or school or river plain. They also exclude general figures for detentions available from other sources, such as LCFHR.

DEAD:802 known plus others implied
MASS BEATINGS:70 villages - estimated 3500 villagers involved

4 railway sidings - estimated 200 villagers involved
BURNINGS:345 homesteads