Zimbabwe: Paradise Plundered, by Jim Barker
In his war and farm memoires, Zimbabwe: Paradise Plundered, Jim Barker recalls his life as police reserve pilot and farmer before and after independence in Simabwe. His farm Nyahoa was illegally grabbed in 2002.
Tango Base established on Nyahoa Estates 1975
[...] I was tasked to do another stint at Centenary and while there, Hammie Dax of the Mazoe Flight landed with fuel pouring from holes in his tanks. He had been flying near the Mozambique border, where the Angwa River exits Rhodesia and had come under intensive ground fire. His plane was hit several times. On 10 November 1975 we were looking forward to a lazy weekend when we heard the sounds of approaching aircraft. Eight helicopters landed on our airstrip, each with technician/gunner and four or five RLI troopies. They had been following the tracks of the terrr group that had fired on Hammie Dax's aeroplane. They had lost the spoor near the Shamrocke Mine. They had also out-run their supply vehicles and hadn't eaten since early on the previous day. They were utterly famished. How to feed 40 people breakfast? Easy, when you had neighbours like ours. Judy phoned them and in no time at all , eggs, bacon and bread were delivered. It was estimated that there were at least 60 tcrrs in the group. They had crossed the border from Mozambique and had broken up into three smaller groups, or so the trackers thought. While the troops were eating and resting, I took off to do a recce and soon found a camp that had been used two night's previously. Troops were choppered to the position, but it was found to be abandoned. The terrs had broken up into even smaller groups and had scattered into the TTL. The rains had not broken and the dry conditions in the inhabited areas made tracking impossible. That night we again fed all the troops. The Women's Voluntary Services (WVS) ladies from Karoi turned up early the next morning and took over the catering. I was asked if the security forces could set up a mini-Joint Operations Centre (JOC) on the farm and in no time at all the Air Force had moved into one of the sheds. The chipping room was used as an ops room, the open shed behind the office for the radio room and tents and marquees sprouted up all around the yard. Several caravans arrived and these and various other vehicles were scattered around. A platoon of RAR soldiers set up camp nearby and a troop of RLI went and based up at Cliffs place. There were three members from Special Branch under Angus Ross and two fairly senior policemen. Major Peter Burford was in command of the army. The Air Force contingent was commanded by Flight Lieutenant Ian Harvey. There were liaison officers from the SAS and the Sclous Scouts, police dog-handlers with their dogs, PATU sticks in and out, ordinary police reservists going about their business and every unattached female for miles around making a bccline for Nyahoa Estates. This was Tango Base. For the next six weeks there were never less than six helicopters, an Air Force fixed wing aircraft and at least two PRA W aircraft operating from our strip. It was soon discovered that the group of terrorists, under the leadership of the notorious commander Mau, had split into three groups One group led by a man named Seki, had moved cast into the Mangula farming district. Mau had gone west into the Chundu TTL, while the group whose camp I had found, headed by a man named Chimwedza, was in the Kazangarare TTL. Mau had operated in the Centenary and Mt Darwin areas before and had been involved in several skirmishes with the security forces. He had built up a reputation with the local population for being invincible had fostered the myth that bullets passed through him without doing him harm. Seki's group opened hostilities with a mortar attack on a farmhouse and store. There were no casualties and a landmine they had laid was discovered and lifted. A few nights later they attacked another farm, but this time they were tracked to contact and in the ensuing battle, aided by troops flown in from Tango Base, Seki and his deputy were killed along with five of his men. The rest of his group fled. They had laid four land mines in the area, three of which were discovered, the other being detonated harmlessly by a farm tractor. The other two groups appeared to have disappeared into thin air. A few days' later a bus detonated a mine on the Shamrocke Mine Road. [...]
This is an excerpt from the memoires: Zimbabwe: Paradise Plundered, by Jim Barker.
Book title: Zimbabwe: Paradise Plundered
Subtitle: Police Reserve Pilot/Farmer before and after independence
Author: Jim Barker
Type: War memoires
Cape Town, South Africa 2013
ISBN 978191985417 / ISBN 978-1-919854-17
Softcover, 17x24 cm, 290 pages, many b/w photos, English text
Barker, Jim im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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