How sellouts tried to poison us

10 Oct, 2021 - 00:10 0 Views
How sellouts tried to poison us Cde Wonderful Sabaruata

The Sunday News

WE conclude our interview with Cde Wonderful Sabaruata, an ex-Zanla combatant who operated in Matabeleland South Province, which fell under the Zanla operational area code named Gaza Province.

Although Cde Sabaruata was mainly based in Beitbridge District especially under Chief Chitaudze area that covered places like Zezani, his unit also made forays into neighbouring districts like Gwanda and Kezi.

In his last instalment with our Assistant Editor Mkhululi Sibanda (MS) Cde Sabarauta whose pseudo name was called Cde Nherera Masarakufa speaks about how they treated villagers caught selling out to the Rhodesian forces, surviving a bombing by the enemy and the suspicions the guerillas had about the ceasefire. Below are excerpts of the interview. Read on . . .
MS: In your operations did you have problems of sellouts?

Cde Sabaruata: Yes, we had and there was a time when my section caught two sellouts. Those people brought trousers, shirts and superpros, which was a common and popular tennis shoe in the 70s.

Those items were laced with poison and were meant to be given to us the comrades. However, this other sellout came to me and said “Cde Nherera I want to talk to you in private so, let’s go there”, I said no, say what you want to say here in front of other comrades. He then started panicking, kubva atanga kufemuruka.

I then pulled him towards a rock and he said comrade please don’t kill me if I tell you something. In response I said we did not go to war so that we kill  the povo.

He knelt down and said please call the other person I came with. Like I said they had brought those type of clothing I mentioned above. I called his colleague and four other comrades as I had realised that there was a serious issue. I ordered those two to lie down facing downwards. Ndavati  rarai nedumbu.

The man then said all the clothing items dzakaiswa poison nema tenesi. The man said he felt sorry for us, that is why he was revealing everything.

MS: What did you use to do with clothes given to you by the villagers?

Cde Sabaruata: In fact we used to boil them before wearing. In this case again we boiled them. Myself as the security officer in the area, I had done my job of preventing a disaster. I had saved the comrades and myself from death. Midzimu yehondo yakatichengeta.

Our political commissar then took over and started giving those sellouts political orientation. He explained to them the objectives of the armed struggle. In fact, he took them through serious political lessons. We stayed with those guys for six days before sending them to Mozambique.

MS: Where did that incident happen?

Cde Sabaruata: The area we caught those sellouts was Tshelanyemba.

MS: You said you were operating as a detachment that will at times break into smaller units, the sections and so on.

Who was the commander?

Cde Sabaruata: My detachment commander was Cde Mau Mau, detachment security Cde Ndhlovu while the sectorial commander was Cde Chizengwe. As for battles, we fought many.

There was one where we assembled two platoons because we wanted to attack a camp, but we were sold out before we finished our briefing. We were having the briefing between two small mountains and it was around 4pm. We then saw a man arimugomo and we thought arikuteya mbira yet he was communicating with the Rhodesian forces.

MS: So, you were attacked in the mountains?

Cde Sabarauta: The helicopters then swooped on us and the first bomb went straight pa opening rebako (cave), resulting in the death of three comrades, two platoon commanders and a section commander.

We had no choice but to fight back. Ipapo takaridza zvekuti jet inonzi mirazhi yakadonha ipapo ground force takavarova zvekuti. We managed to make a breakthrough from the killing bag and retreated.

We managed to regroup chop chop.

We quickly organised the mujibhas and went there vachitinha mombe. That’s when they came back with sad news that they found three bodies of our comrades asi vamwe vane ma camouflage. We knew that those with camouflages were not our fighters, but the Rhodesian forces.

After that we went there and the bodies of our comrades and buried them in shallow graves. Even today they are there crying for help from those graves.

MS: What do you think should have been done?

Cde Sabaruata: After the war that’s my opinion and feeling, the Government should have revisited those areas and conducted proper burials. They should have sent comrades who operated in those areas, we know where the graves are.

It’s something that is bothering some of us up to now. Surely something should be done.

MS: So which parts of Mat South were you covering in our operations?

Cde Sabaruata: I was based in the Chief Tshitaudze area and we covered areas such Mzingwane, Zezani and Magwamasi.

I operated there until the ceasefire. I was supposed to go to the Zezani Assembly Point, which was also known as

Assembly Point Juliet but as a security man I told my home boy not to go there because we were not sure whether it was a genuine ceasefire.

There was a feeling among the fighters that the Rhodesian forces wanted to trick us into moving into the Assembly Points and then bomb us. So, we decided to go home by foot takambomira for days tiri mu operation zone say for a week tikazoti let’s go to Chipinga (Chipinge) now.

MS: So, you went?

Cde Sabaruata: Yes, we reached Ngundu after two days and we were very tired. We then saw ma monitoring forces and we sent some old man to go and talk to them. The old man came and said he should bring us to them, so they can take us to  Chipinda Pools Assembly Point.

The monitoring forces demanded that we also hand over our weapons and we said No. We sent the old man and said he should tell them that they can go to hell. They then said we should come with our weapons kubva taenda dziripa hip level, ready for any eventuality. We were then taken to Chipinda Pools, which was   in Chiredzi. However, I can’t remember who was the commander as I stayed there for three days.

MS. Tell us the areas that Zanla covered in Mat South and did you face any problems with Zipra, which was also operating in that area?

Cde Sabaruata: I come from Chipinge and I was very young that time, so I might mix up the names but I know that Zanla had penetrated up to Tshelanyemba that is in Kezi, Gwanda, Filabusi and Mangwe. At times we will have skirmishes with the Zipra forces.

We used to fight even pendaka pfurwa it was a Zipra surprise attack pa base but I love former Zipra forces very much. We brought the independence of this country together.

MS: You said you were in Chipinda for three days, so where did you go after that?

Cde Sabaruata: I was chosen to go for close security training ku Ghana. I was one of the 18 who were chosen. Two buses came from Salisbury (Harare) to take us. When we were in Harare we were told that there were some who had already been chosen, those who had Form Four. Those who did Form Four but had not passed we were taken to Goromonzi Base One.

Remember myself I had left school to join the armed struggle when I was in Form Three. We stayed in Goromonzi Base One for about a month.

Again takatorwazve tiri 15 to Manicaland, in Mutare and we were booked into a hotel yainzi Little Shallow now Moto Moto. Our leader there was Cde Edgar Tekere, Twoboy. Our mission was to open commissariat offices in Manicaland and takaita saizvozvo.  I didn’t  join the army because I was shot in the arm while both my legs were hit with bomb fragments, so I was demobilised.

MS: You did not tell us about how you were injured, so what happened?

Cde Saburuata: We were at a base at Tshelanyemba at around 6pm, I then decided to answer the call of nature, moved for about 30 metres and saw a rock. I then decided kuno zvibatsira behind the rock.

That’s where my good comrades, maZipra  shot me. They hit me on the arm then my unit returned fire to the direction I was coming from. I called out, telling them to stop firing saying ndini Cde Nherera ndapfurwa. So I crawled back to the place.

Cde Chop Chop then rendered first aid. I stayed at the front for two weeks with those injuries as I did not want to be taken to Mozambique. Later I was escorted by the comrades kusvika Chikwalakwala pa-border then taken to Bharazhi Hosiptal where I was admitted.

I stayed at the hospital for 13 days. I told the hospital staff that I wanted to return to Rhodesia, they said no, you are not yet fit kubva ndabuda ndega, nobody discharged me.

When I got to Chikwalakwala ndakapiwa pfuti yangu and then joined the comrades who had just been deployed to the front. I had been shot in the arm in 1978 and in 1979 ma fragments akapinda mumakumbo.

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