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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 yebomimi@gmail.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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Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Wandering about the village the soldiers found a woman named Zostina who
was pregnant. They asked her the sex of the child inside her. "I don't know," she
replied. "You soon will," they said. Immediately they opened her stomach with
knives . . "Look, now you know." Afterwards the woman and child were
consumed in the flames."
"In spite of the difficulties which have arisen in making a complete list of the
names of the victims of the massacre in the village of Wiriyamu (Mozam
bique), the sources of the detailed information we have collected give us the
right to maintain the affirmation that there were more than 400 victims...
Report of the Burgos Missionaries,
quoted by Father Adrian Hastings,
London Times, 10 July, 1973
"The atrocities committed by the Portuguese army, despite their horror and
barbarism, express the true nature of the Portuguese facist colonial regime,
just as the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camps, the massacre at
Lidice in Czechoslovakia... expressed the true nature of Hitler and Nazism;
just as Sharpeville expressed the true nature of the regime in South Africa;
just as Sajiet Sidi Youssef expressed the true nature of French colonialism
in Algeria; ... just as Guernica in Spain showed the nature of Franco
facism; just as My Lai expressed the true nature of American imperialism in
Viet-Nam. Each colonial war, each racist war, each Nazi war, each imperial
ist war includes a Mueda, a Sharpeville, a Pidgiguiti, an Icolo Bengo, a My
Therefore, let us try to understand these facts, this reality, in that
Marcelino Don Santos, Vice President
Frelimo, testifying before the Committee
of 24 of the United Nations, 20 July, 1973
The report by Father Adrian Hastings of the massacre of more than 400
African villagers in Wiriyamu, Mozambique, has focused world attention
on the brutality of Portugal's colonial wars in Africa.
In fact, Portugal's five centuries of "rule" in Africa have been always
both tenuous and brutal. In the face of African military resistance all
of Angola was only brought under effective colonial control in 1930. The
military pacification of Mozambique continued late into the 1920's and
there was armed conflict in Guine Bissau until 1936. Less than 30 years
later the Portuguese were again facing full-scale armed popular uprisings
in all three of their African colonies, and the events of the past two
years, particularly in the Tete region of Mozambique and throughout Guine
Bissau indicate that despite an annual expenditure of more than 50% of the
annual budget on their colonial wars and the use of an army of over 160,000
men, the Portuguese are rapidly losing their hold on their African Empire.
By 1972 General Kaulza de Arriaga, Commander of the Mozambique operation,
site of the most recent massacres, admitted that his front alone was absorb
ing 30% of Portugal's annual total budget.
Until the end of the 19th century, Portugal's economic system in Africa
was based on slave labor; slavery was replaced by a callous aystem of
forced labour, which has for instance, conscripted a half million people
annually out of Angola's four million Black population! As late as 1961,
a British investigative team vhich included a Member of Parliament reported
that men were still being conscripted for periods of up to 18 months, women
were forced to mend roads and children from 8 years up were frequently forced
to work in the mines and on the coffee plantations. The Portuguese have al
ways described their role in Africa as a "civilizing mission" but by the
late 1950's less than 1% of the African school-age population in the colon
ies was attending school.
Determined to maintain their rule, the Portuguese met any opposition
with extreme violence, banning all political groups, imprisoning leaders
and shooting down demonstrators.
In 1960, in Mozambique, before the beginning of the national liberation
war, at Mueda in the Province of Cabo Delgado, almost 600 people were killed
by the Portuguese army with grenades and machine guns while they were demon
strating peacefully, in support of their demands for land and the" ight to
independence. At Pidgiguiti, in Guine Bissau, 50 African dock workers were
shot down in 1959 during a strike for higher wages. In Angola, the Portu
guese unleashed what American missionaries on the scene described as a
P. 2
'reign of terror" in response to the beginning of an armed uprising
in 1961. Villages miles from the scene of any conflict were fire
bombed and machine-gunned. A former Portuguese Air Force Staff
officer, Major Jose Ervedosa, revealed recently at a press Conference
in London (Star July 28, 1973) that statistics compiled at thi
time by the Portuguese military authorities in Angola estimated
that between 50,000 and 80,000 Angolans were killed by Portuguese
forces between March 16 and June 30, 1961. The major said that high
command orders at the time had been to kill any Angolan seen in any
areas of revolt.
Voices, including those of some Protestant missionaries on
the scene at the time, that tried to alert the world to the mass
atrocities being perpetrated by the Portuguese in Angola in 1961
were largely ignored. Many of the missionaries were driven out by
the colonial authorities. For the next 12 years the Portuguese
waged their wars against the people of the three colonies behind a
screen of isolatinn, which has shielded their most brutal actions
from outside scrutiny.
The liberation movements, in Angola, Mozambique and Guink Bissau,
actively engaged in the daily struggle, have reported again and again
the barbarity of Portuguese actions against the people. They have
described the techniques used -- such as the forced resettlement of
the people in strategic hamlets (aldeamentos) in an effort to isolate
the guerrillas from the people and 'sanitize' the masses, cutting
them off from contact with their political leadership. In Mozambique
alone the Portuguese have already uprooted over one million people
and have announced plans to uproot 3 million of the total 8 million
black populatinn by 1975, to settle them in easily defended strategic
The liberation movements have repeatedly called on the United
States, France, West Germany and other countries of the West to stop
supplying Portugal witL the herbicides and airplanes used to destroy
the African pecple -- but with -no effect. Thus it is an open secret
that the U.S. light planes Ihave beel used in defoliant attacks.
Continued United States, French ano British Government support has
created an atmosphere in which few people in the West believe or even
listen to the Liberation movements, despite their recognition by the
United Nations as the "authentic representatives of the true aspirations"
of the people. Western press and media, mirroring official attitudes,
have continued to present the Movements as 'terrorists' while they
describe with some sympathy the attempts made by the Portuguese to
'pacify' and'develop' their colonies.
As the struggle has intensified in all three countries and
the Portuguese suffer increasingly serious defeats, their response
has been an escalation of the use of terror tactics. There are now
large areas of liberated territory in each of the colonies, where the
movements have begun the construction of schools and hospitals, and
where democratically elected village committees have replaced the
arbitrary rule of the colonialists. The Portuguese Government, now
spending 50% of its budget on the wars and confronted by a growing
4th Front - the militant opposition to its facist regime inside
Portugal itself- tried half-heartedly to "win the hearts and minds of
the people" by building a few schools, water pumps and clinics behind
the barbed wire of the resettlement villages and manipulating the con
stitution to provide a token vote for some Africans to organs of impo
tent local authority. When these attempts failed, and the people con
tinued to increase their open support for the liberation movements,
the Portuguese reverted to their old tactics - rule by terror.
By 1971 increasingly frequent allegations were being made about
the brutal conduct of the Portuguese troops against the people of
Mozambique, particularly in remote areas, by various observers including
a number of Catholic missionaries from different orders working in the
Tete region. Despite the seriousness of these allegations, little
notice was taken of these horrors by the world press until the publi
cation by the Times of London on July 10th of a report by Father Adrian
Hastings based on information supplied by niissionaries of the Spanish
Burgos Mission alleging a massacre of 400 people at a village called
Wiriyamu on the 16th of December, 1972. The Times is a particularly
cautious establishment newspaper. Its decision to publish Father Hasting's
statement, at a time which would inevitably embarass the British
government, which was about to receive an official visit from Portugal's
Prime Minister Caetano, indicates the indisputable strength of the
accusations. The Portuguese initially denied the massacres, eventually
admitted that what they termed "isolated retaliatory actions" had
occurred. There is in fact overwhelming evidence that such massacres
have been perpetuated, not just as isolated episodes, but as a part
of a systematic attempt to terrorize the people, destroy their support
for the freedom struggle and isolate the liberation movements. Even
a broad review of some of the known events of the past two years
indicates that such atrocities have been widespread. They indicate too
that those facts have been well documented for some time and raise
serious questions about the prolonged silence of the influential
Western press.
May 1971 The White Fathers, a Roman Catholic Missionary order leave Mozambique,
after working in the colony for 25 years, in protest against the manner
in which the Church was used by the state for purposes that have
nothing to do with the Gospel.
Aug. 1971 A group of the White Fathers releases a document describing a number of
horrifying massacres which took place in April and May, 1971,
in the Mukumbura region of Tete province, apparently in reprisal
for the death of three Rhodesian soldiers who had entered Mozambique
to help the Portuguese and were killed by a FRELIMO landmine. The report
Jan. 1972
August 1972
provided a detailed account of 26 brutal murders, involving people
in several villages,(Standard, Tanzania, September 30, 1971.).
Jeune Afrique re-publishes the contents of a letter written by a
Portuguese missionary, Father Enrique Fernandez to Premier Caetano
setting out in detail a number of atrocities committed in the district
of Mukumbura. First published in the Spanish journal Vida Nueva the
letter refers to an incident in May 1971 in which 26 people died; to
an episode in September in which 15 people were killed by Rhodesian
troops collaborating with a Portuguese officer. It details the massacre
of 19 people in the village of Dak on the 10th of October and an operation
carried on in November 1971 by 40 members of the special forces section
of the army in which many people, including 13 children were burned
to death. (Jeune Afrique, Jan.22,1972)
Two Spanish priests, Fathers Martin Hernandez Robles and Alfonso
Valverde Leon are secretly arrested in Rhodesia and returned to the
Portuguese autho::ities . They had gone to Rhodesia to denounce the
massacres, which they said had begun in the Mukumbura region in May
1971. These two men have been held incommunicado by the Portuguese
in Machava ' prison near Lourenco Marques since their arrest and
have still not been brought to trial, although they have testified in
public about the massacres at the trial of two other Priests in
Mozambique.(First report of the arrests in the Observer,Lond. April 30,1972.)
Two Beira priests, Fathers Joaquim Sampaio and Fernando Mendes were
arrested for making anti-Portuguese statements alleging troop atrocities.
They come to trial a year later.(Star,January 15,1972.)
Father Luis Alfonso da Costa, a missionary of the Verona Fathers
smuggles a report out of Mozambique and publishes it in Rome. The
report which deals only with "about one tenth of the province of Tete",
gives the dates, and in most cases the names of 92 people killed by
Portuguese troops between May 1971 and March 20, 1972. His report
describes in ugly detail the forms of torture used by his fellow
Portuguese, and indicates that apart from prolonged physical torture
during interrogation, castration and mutilation are common in the
prisons.(Guardian,U.K. Aug. 5, 1972.) Father da Costa emphasizes two
points; the terror actions are perpetrated against the civilian popu
lation and are designed to keep the local population from supporting
the partisans. The executions, torture and systematic destruction of
entire villages is the job not of the ordinary troops but of the anti
guerilla commandos, paratroopers (G.E. paracaidistas) sometimes called
the "fuzileiros navais" who are organized and trained after the pattern
of the U.S. marines. These special units have only become operational
in the last two years, soon after the commencement of coustruction
work at the Cabora Bassa site. (Spiegel, West Germany, Aug.21,1972).
Jan. 1973 Fathers Sampaio and Mendes are finally brought to trial in Loureic
Marques in Jani.1973, before a special military tribunal. Giving
evidence for the defence, Bishop Felix Ribeira,(Bishop of Tete at the
time the two priests were arrested) confirms the allegations of mass
attrocities and claims he had proof that the DGS (the Portuguese
Security police) habitually beat Africans in the northern area of
Mozambique to try and obtain information about the movement of FRELIMO
groups. Father Leon, brought to the court room from jail also testifies
that he has personally witnessed a massacre at Muculala on Nov. 4, 1971,
where Portuguese commandos had killed four women and eleven children with
hand grenades because 'terrorists' from their area had been responsible
for the death of a pro-government Maconde chief.(Rand Daily Mail,Jan.13
and 19th, 1973)
Evidence against the Portuguese has thus been mounting for several years. Yet
it has, until very recently been almost totally ignored by most people in the
Western world, and the United States press continues to give the atrocities
and their implications almost no attention.
U.S. and Portugal: Allies in Empire
The reason for this benign attitude can be found in the close and supportive
relationship that exists between the United States, most of the Western
European members of NATO and Portugal. Portugal is in fact regarded as an
important buffer against potentially threatening racial and political forces
in Africa. Hence the increasing support that has gone to Portugal both
directly, and through NATO agreements, as her military position worsens. The
Nixon administration has made available loans worth over $400. million under
the Azores Agreement, U.S. experts continue to train Portuguese officers;
the U.S. allows the sale of Boeing aircraft for troop transports to the
Portuguese government, and the sale of so-called civilian aircraft (light
aircraft ideal for counter-guerilla warfare) under the guise that these are
being sold to private companies in Mozambique.
U.S.A. Corporations have increased their activities in Portuguese Africa
in the last few years; not only is Gulf oil now drawing off 150,000 barrels
per day of oil from Cabinda in Angola, but corporations such as Bethlehem
Steel are developing new concessions right inside the most hotly contested
areas in Mozambique. In September 1972 Bethlehem Steel, in a consortium
with two Portuguese companies was granted an exclusive concession of several
1,000 square miles in Tete province itself. U.S. corporations in Angola
and Mozambique arenow dependent on the victory of Portuguese colonialism
for their continued security and profits.
Put an End to the Massacres:
There have been several international proposals for the establishment of a
prestigious international commission of enquiry to visit the scenes of the
massacres and determine the truth of the allegations.
Any action that will serve to focus world attention on the brutalities of
continued Portuguese colonial rule is important and should be supported.
It is important to recall however the woils of the Vice-President of FRELIMO
"Every act of the Portuguese facist colonial regime is a crime. As long
as that regime exists, crime will exist."
Father Hastings concluded his statement to the United Nations with the foll
owing words:
"The Portuguese Government is not alone in the world and I appeal
to the world, particularly tD those countries which regard Portugal
as an ally, which share arms and military training with it, which
protect its interests in the United Nations, whose conmmercial
companies pour money into the Cabora Bassa project only a very
few miles from Wiriyamu - I appeal to those countries...to realise
that by continuing to do this, by closing their eyes to the
genocidal policy of the Portuguese government.. .they have taken
on to their own hands the blood of the women and children of
The task tihatis'being tndertakc- by the liberation movements is the total
destruction of the system of colonial rule which inevitably leads to the
crimes of Wiriyamu.
The task for Americans who support the struggle for freedom and self deter
mination of the people of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau is to ensure
that their own government ceases to prop up this vicious colonial regime.
U.S. policy will not be changed by one dramatic protest. But it is important
that each issue is seen as part of a longterm campaign that will ultimately
succeed in ending U.S. support for racism and colonialism in Africa.
Being informed about southern African issues, raising them wherever you work
with other people, in your church, trade union or student association, is
a first step. Contact local radio stations and newspapers and urge them
to carry regular news about Southern Africa, about the liberation struggle
and U.S. policy. Join with others to work on some of the issues that will
be highlighted in campaigns in the coming months.
Support the "Chemical Warfare Act of 1973": On June 11, 1973, Gongressman
Charles Rangle and 16 co-sponsord introduced the "Chemical Warfare Prevention
Act of 1973", H.R. 8574, to ban exportation of all herbicides to Portugal
and South Africa. In introducing the bill, Congressman Rangel said, "The
excessive amounts of chemical herbicides that the United States government
and private business sell to Portugal and South Africa is being used to con
tinue and intensify the colonial warfare in the Portugues colonies of Angola
and Mozambique." He cited figures compiled by the Department of Commerce
that show that United States sales of herbicides to Portugal and South Africa
have increased significantly since 1969.
H.R. 8574 is pending before that Subcommittee on International Trade of the
House Committee on Banking and Currency. It is important to press for hear
ings on this bill because it focusses directly on United States support for
Portugal in its colonial wars. Write to Congressman Wright Patman, the chair
man of the Subcommittee, urging that they hold hearings on H.R. 8574 this
session. Urge your Congressman to support this Bill. Communicate with groups
you know to bring as much attention to this Bill as possible.
P. 7
Support the Gulf Oil Boycott Campaign: Gulf Oil is the largest single U.S.
investor in "Portuguese" Africa, and its annual tax and royalty payment to
the Portug .ese Government, now over $60 million, is equivalent to 60% of
Angola' s provincial military expenses.
The United Nations and the M.P.L.A. (Angolan liberation movement) have called on
foreign investors such as Gulf to withdraw from Angola. Gulf's refusal to do
this has led to the development of a widely supported Gulf Boycott Campaign
in the U.S. Actions have included the return of Gulf credit cards, the sale
of Gulf stock, endi> g local institutional and governmental contracts for pro
ducts and boycotts of Gulf stations.
The Gulf Boycott campaign is an important effort aimed at ending U.S. ties to
Portuguese colonial rule in Africa and supporting the movements for liberation
in southern Africa. The American Committee on Africa has further background
information on Gulf and other U.S. corporations operating in southern Africa,
on other aspects of U.S. links to Portugal, and on the liberation movements
in southern Africa. Frite to ACOA for more information.
Support the African Liberation Movements: In addition to ending U.S. backing
of Portugal, support for the African liberation movements is vital. The U.N.
last year recognized the movements in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau
as the authentic representatives of the aspirations of the people of their
countries and called in Portugal to open negotiations to grant independence.
While the struggle continues the liberation movements need direct material
aid from concerned Americans - aid which can take many forms - medicines,
radios, school books and trucks.
In particular Guinea-Bissau has now been almost completely freed by the forces
of the PAICC and the new National Assembly is to proclaim independence from
Portugal this year. Americans can make an important contribution towards
helping a people enslaved under colonialism achieve recognition as an indepen
dent nation by building support for the recognition of the new state.
American Committee on Africa
164 Madison Avenue
New York, N. Y. 10016
August, 1973

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.