Zimbabwe Liberation fighters rise from the dead
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Sometimes they hear people singing revolutionary songs and dancing during the night, making the location a no-go area for frightened villagers who believe that the ghosts of those killed during the liberation struggle occupy the place.
Two custodians employed by the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, who identified themselves only as Francisco and Maritino, confirmed these unexplained occurrences.
'Last month, a group of people from Zimbabwe came here (to the shrine) and they wanted to stage (pungwe) night singing.
'We showed them were some groups or people usually stage such activities but they decided to choose another place at night,' Francisco said.
He said as they were singing, they saw a ball of fire coming from the eastern side.
The spooked visitors ran for dear life but suddenly found their retreat path blocked by a gigantic snake
'The ball of fire and the snake disappeared after they moved to the place where night singing is normally done,' Francisco said.
From November 23 to 25 in 1977, Rhodesian security forces staged what they called Operation Dingo – more commonly known as the Chimoio Massacre – against the military headquarters and refugee camp of the Robert Mugabe-led freedom fighters.
Of the thousands of liberation fighters, men, women and children killed, only two Rhodesian troops perished with another six wounded.
Ian Smith's forces used 96 Special Air Services and 48 paratroopers, backed by 40 helicopter-borne Rhodesian Light Infantry troops in the attack that started at 7:45am.
So eager were the Rhodesians to inflict as much damage as possible that, according to one source, 'In order to strike as many ground targets as possible six mothballed Vampire jets dating from the 1940s were brought back into use for the operation…
'In the first pass, four Canberra bombers dropped 1200 Alpha bombs (Rhodesian-designed anti-personnel fragmentation weapons) over an area 1.1 kilometers long and half a kilometer wide.
'Following the initial devastating air strikes by the Canberras, Hunters and Vampire FB9's ten Alouette III helicopter gunships engaged opportunity targets in allocated areas which together inflicted the majority of the casualties, while 2 Vampire T11's flew top cover.
'The paratroopers and heliborne troops were effectively deployed on three sides of the objective into various stop groups and sweep lines, and were effective in killing large numbers of fleeing ZANLA cadres but the lack of a complete envelopment allowed a number of fleeing ZANLA cadres to escape.' On November 25, the Rhodesian killing machine repeated the massacre at Tembue Camp.
The camps are understood to have housed between 9 000 and 11 000 people at the time of the attacks.
Casualties at Chimoio were mainly at Parirenyatwa, the camp clinic where the sick and wounded were about to be transported to the main hospital in Chimoio Town.
School children were mowed down with automatic gunfire along the river where they had fled to.
Chimoio had a limited number of trained personnel and the majority of casualties were the untrained women and children as well as the wounded.
They were buried in 20 mass graves and it now seems that some of those slain are not resting in peace.
According to Maritino, one of the custodians at the Chimoio shrine, they sometimes see a group of people dressed in white clothes singing revolutionary songs at night but when they approach them they vanish into thin air.
'Sometimes when we see these people, we think that they are people from Zimbabwe visiting the shrine and we go to where they would be gathered but they just disappear,' he said.
Three weeks ago, 240 senior police officers and recruits from the Zimbabwe Republic Police force visited Chimoio on an educational tour.
Led by Senior Assistant Commissioner Grace Ndebele, the group had a brush with the strange happenings at Chimoio.
Arriving at the shrine on a chilly Saturday, the bus driver decided to put on his jacket.
He says that as he did so, he felt 'someone' touched his back and yet there was no one with him as the touring group had left the bus.
Scared out of his wits, he refused to remain alone in the bus and disembarked to wait for the group to return.
In April this year, a car belonging to a Mozambican man reportedly caught fire a few minutes after he had spoken to shrine custodians Francisco and Maritino.
Francisco said: 'He (the Mozambican) came close to the entrance while driving his car and stopped near us. He said 'how can you look after graves of people you don't know?'.
'He added that this job can only be done by 'people who are mad'.'
After giving them a piece of his mind, the Mozambican drove off but returned on foot a few minutes later saying that his car was on fire.
Efforts to extinguish the flames were reportedly useless and the car was reduced to a shell.
The director for the central region of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe Lovemore Mandima said: 'Maybe for unknown reasons, the custodians felt that the negative comments he had uttered could have led to the burning of the vehicle.'
The mysterious occurrence did not end with the burning of the Mozambican man's car.
A few days later it is understood that the man returned with a colleague with the intention of towing the shell.
But as they approached the burnt car, the vehicle they were in also strangely caught fire but they managed to extinguish the flames using sand.
They towed the shell and disappeared from the scene.
Chimoio Liberation Site was the ZANU headquarters during Zimbabwe's liberation struggle and is in the Manica Province of Mozambique.
The camp is situated about 21km north of the town of Chimoio.
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