There are strange happenings at the Chimoio Shrines in Mozambique, which hold several mass graves of thousands of liberation war fighters and refugees who were massacred by Rhodesian forces on November 23, 1977 in an air force operation code-named “Dingo”.
“When we started working here, we would lock the gates at night before going home, but the next morning, we would find the gates unlocked and wide open. We have seen one of the graves oozing blood when things in Zimbabwe are not well,” says Francisco Fernando, one of the two caretakers at the shrines
“There is a farmer who once passed-by here and said some bad things about us and the comrades, his car was burnt to ashes right before our eyes. When he tried to bring another car to tow the remnants of his car, it also caught fire,” he said.
He said the spirits of the cadres wander around.
Fernando said this when Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, accompanied by the members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, visited the Chimoio shrines on Monday.
The Zanla Chimoio camp, which was the liberation army’s military headquarters in Mozambique, was a massive military complex situated about 20 kilometres north-east of Chimoio town.
The Rhodesian forces hit the conglomeration of camps which included “Osibisa”, which was mainly a women’s camp; “Chaminuka”, which was the main Zanla security camp; “Chindunduma” for young schoolchildren; “Percy Ntini”, which was a convalescence centre and a logistics base; and the “Garage” camp where Zanla’s vehicles were serviced and repaired as well as the Takawira Base Two camp, which was the main military training camp for males.
National consultative assembly member Charles Hokoyo, described how after the attack, an excavator was used to push thousands of bodies strewn all over the camp into mass graves.
He said some bodies were still being discovered. Hokoyo said there was need to continue identifying those buried in shallow graves and accord them decent burials.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has called for the thorough vetting people visiting the Chimoio Shrines in Mozambique as a measure to ensure that the site is not tempered with by mischievous elements.
Speaking at the shrines during the same visit, ZNLWVA provincial chairman Gift Kagweda said it was unfortunate that some people were visiting the shrines with ulterior motives.
“We have heard how the spirits of the cadres buried here are very much alive. Strange things happen here and we should not take them lightly. Because of this, we have said everyone who wishes to visit these shrines should be vetted. We cannot have people just coming here to cause mischief,” he said.