As 1976 drew closer Missionaries were seen to be vunreable to Terrorist atrocities as they were soft targets as they carried out thier religious duties in the remote Tribal Trust Lands of Rhodesia.
ZANLA and ZIPRA terrorists had openly let thier anti -religious views be known to the Rhodesian population and in one incident where a bridge was demolished the terrorists left a note saying "Down with Christ" and in another incident a terrorist commander stated that "If the Jews had not killed Christ, I would have done it myself".
Terrorists told missionaries to refrain from mentioning Christ and his resurrection when they preached at the same time similar impositions were being placed on the Church in Russia.
The terrorists viewed the Church as representing capatilism.
Terrorists would also attack mission stations which they considered were not giving them enough assistance.
Many if not all missio stations provided some type of assistance to terrorist groups and individual cadres from time to time, this was probably in the belief that they would be able to continue thier work after black majority rule had been established in the country.
White missionaries were targetted by the terrorists because in some way they thougt thier murders would affect the white population in Rhodesia, these missionaries were not killed brcause of thier faith or religion but for the mere fact that they were soft targets and easy to murder.
Father Jeorger 42 from Switzerland was one of the first missionaries to be murdered in November 1976 in the Mshawasha African Purchase Area. He was abducted and tried by a kangaroo court prior to the terrorists murdering him. Evidence of his murder was found in documentation found on a captured terrorist by the name of Taurai. The document said that the Priest had committed crimes and in a document headed Accounts listed his so called crimes with a chilling statement saying that All these accounts make him liable for the death penalty".
In January 1978 Father Desmond Paul Donovan was abducted and murdered under similar circumstances. He was abducted while riding his motorcycle to visit parishoners, his motorcycle was found buried however there was no trace ever found of the priest.
A group of Roman Catholics were stopped and murdered by a group of terrorists on a dirt road outside Lupane on December 5 ,1976. In this incident Father Possenti Weggarten, Rev. Adolf Schmitt and a nun Sister Maria Frances van den Berg were murdered.
A nun Sister Ermenfried Knauer managed to survive the attack by hiding under the vehicle that the group had been travelling in but suffered gunshot wounds to her leg.
She said that the group had been travelling from Regina Mundi mission to St Lukes mission when they were stopped by a group of terrorists who asked them for money. When they told the terrorists that they had no money but were willing to take them back to the mission station and give them what they wanted the terrorist commander said that they should die and opened up on the group with his sub-machine gun.
Sister Ermerfield said that the terrosist who was wearing a balaclava started by shooting the Bishop first.
The Catholic Bishop of Bulawayo was devastated by this cruel act and said "This is the reward for our work for Africans for working with them all our lives.
During the evening of 7 Febuary 1977 seven white Roman Catholic missionaries were murdered by terrorists.
The white missionaries were separated from the blacks and herded to a spot near the mission block where the terrorists had an argument in Shona as to who would do the shooting when three of them opened up with AK47 's killing seven missionaries.
One of the missionaries Father Myerscough pretendedthat he was shot and fell among his comrades and was missed out by the terrorists.
Security forces following up on the killings confirmed that the missionaries had been executed by members of Robert Mugabe's ZANU and that they had recovered over one hundred cartridge cases in the area.
A Spainis Priest Father Diaz aged 58 was found murdered in the south east lowveld of Rhodesia, this priest had worked with the African community in the countery for over 28 years.
Two white women missionaries were murdered by terrorists at St. Pauls Mission, Lupane on March 10, 1977.
A group of eight terrorists entered the mission and demanded money from Dr. Johanna Decker 59 and Sister Ann Ploner. The terrorists had found the two missionaries in the dispensary and demanded money from them. Dr. Decker gave them the cash box but they said that it was not enough. Dr Decker said that she had more money in her house and was shot by the terrorists when the group headed off to the house to collect her money.
During this attack the terrorists threatened to rape the nuns and also assaulted members of the hospital staff and ordered the 130 patients to get out of thier beds.
Another Nun a Sister Damiane Drechsler hid when she saw theterrorists passing her window with Dr. Decker at gunpoint.
On the 23 October 1977 the Rev. Andries Brand and his wife were murdered in a terrorist ambush while returning to thier home in Que Que.
On 2 June 1978 two Catholic missionaries were murdered by terrorists at Embakwe mission school near the Botswana border, they were Pieter Geyermann and Andrew von Arx.
Five days after the Embakwe murders on 7 June 1978 terrorists attacked the Salvation Army Usher Institute killing two mission teachers and wounding another two.
The two women who died in this attack were Charon Swindells and Diane Thompson.
They were killed when 15 terrorists from ZIPRA opened fire on them. Injured in this incident were Gunvor Pollson and a male David Cotton.
These killings brought the total of missionaries murdered in Rhodesia at that time to 20.
Archie Dunway was murdered at Sanyati Mission on June 15 1978.
ELIM MISSION MASSACRE
On the evening of the 23 June 1978 at Elim Mission in the Eastern highlands of Rhodesia the worst massacre of missionaries in the Rhodesian war occured.
Eight missionaries and four children -including a three month old baby were bayonetted to death by a group of Robert Mugabe's terrorist organisation.
Three of the missionaries were men and the remainder women, a sixth woman was stabbed, beaten and left for dead. She managed to stagger 300 m into the freezing cold bush before spending the night in a semi concious state before being found by Rhodesian Security forces.
She died in intensive care in Salisbury. In this incident most of the women had been sexually assaulted and raped by the terrorists. One woman was mutilated.
When Andrew Young was asked if Robert Mugabe was a violent man he replied:-
"Not at all, he's a very gentle man. In fact, one of the ironies of the whole struggle is that I can't imagine Joshua Nkomo, or Robert Mugabe, ever pulling the trigger of a gun to kill anyone. I doubt they ever have..... The violent people are Smiths people and hopefully they won't be around for a new Zimbabwe".
On 28 June two more Roman Catholic missionaries were murdered FatherGregor Richert and Brother Bernard Lisson at St Ruperts mission 60 km from Hartley.
The International Red Cross were also not immune from terrorist atrocities either. Andre Tieche and Alain Bieri and thier transalator Charles Chatora were murdered and robbed of thier possessions by a group of terrorists.
- Beaver Shaw
- Nairobi, Kenya
- I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on email@example.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011
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