Commander Zimbabwe Defense Forces General Philip Valerio Sibanda has relieved how he survived the assassination attack by the Rhodesian settler regime at Freedom camp in Zambia.
Speaking during an interview with ZANU PF information department on the death of national hero Stanley Nleya, General Sibanda said when the Rhodesian soldiers bombed the camp, he had gone out to do other duties.
“When the Rhodesians attacked the camp at Freedom Camp I was not exactly in the camp and he (Nleya) was not in the camp we had gone out on other duties and the camp was attacked. When we came back we saw the devastation that was caused by the attack We had the task of having to collect dead bodies, limbs, and so on and then to eventually bury them.
“That was very very disturbing…It is something that you can not rub of your mind just like that.”
Freedom Camp was located about 25 kilometres north of Lusaka.
According to the South Africa History Archives, ZAPU was using a farm in that area to produce food for the cadres as well as the refugees. But it was also frequently used as a transfer base when recruits were being sent for training out of the country.
On the day when it was attacked a large number of recruits were waiting for transfer to Angola. They had been assembled for a parade addressed by the commander Alfred Nikita Mangena, who had left, but they were still waiting to be dismissed.
SAHA quotes one Christopher Moyo who survived the attack.
We saw a spotter plane hovering around. We thought that it was something …Zambians, because it went just like that and came back and came again. That was for the second time. Then it was followed by jet .. jet fighters from Rhodesia. ..those Canberra and Mirage and things like that. Within some minutes there were about six or so planes were hovering over our head … It was just empty, very few trees you see. Then within a short time then air force just started bombing, bombing the whole camp, bombing … the people were crowded like this …it was a horrible thing.
Then people started running here and there and they couldn’t reach that place [the area protected by trees where they were sleeping]. So those people were just squeezed in the place and many of them were killed, … those planes were going around, when they come down the first thing they will open machines and sub-machines, something like that, then when they go up they will start dropping drums … dropping napalm over these people. … we were in the parade, so people were just in that … in that manner, so they started dropping … dropping napalms, dropping everything that they can do.
…there were helicopters again which came after some minutes after those airplanes they have done their job. Then the helicopters … about 6 to 9 ..6-9 yes, helicopters, start hovering again, shooting people now, using heavy machine guns. So people, those people who were trying to run away from the sector, then they were killed by helicopters … Because they were just going like this, just going around … around the camp…around the … whoever is trying to run away was killed. Trying to run away, was killed just like that.
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