History Monday: Gukurahundi – Fifth Brigade Abuses Part 3

Hi, this is from Nehanda Radio and a continuation from last History Monday. These are village by village summaries of the crimes committed by the fifth brigade


MPILO: (due west of Tankahukwe) OCT 82: ZNA took the store-keeper and killed him and assaulted his wife. (3264/5) JAN 83: 2 men from here were killed by 5B because they ran away when they saw 5B coming. (3262-3) Dead: 3 Beaten:1

TANKAHUKWE (7 km south west of Pumula Mission) FEB 1983: All the villagers were rounded up and severely beaten. 12 were selected and shot after being forced into 2 mass graves.

One of the chosen managed to run away, so his younger brother was killed instead. 5B came back in 1984 and stabbed the escapee to death, also severely beating another brother at this time. Another villager who was badly beaten ran away but died later of his injuries. (file H has all names, also 295, 297, 312, 324, 455, 3264-6) Dead: 14 Beaten: 50 est

EGOMENI (5 km almost due west of Pumula Mission): FEB 1983: Villagers were rounded up and beaten. 5 were then shot and buried in one grave. (301-2, 321) A villager was shot dead in February and then had his hut burnt down. (461). One villager killed trying to return to work in Harare (314) Another villager was abducted in a truck as a dissident and shot at a nearby farm (483)

Another villager was killed in the Sonqinyana area. (463) 13 FEB 83: One villager shot at dawn at his home. (460) FEB 83: woman shot dead by 5B who also burnt the homestead. (461) ** CCJP case files report 1 named death here, could be 1st incident. A man was also detained and never seen again here, February 1983. (319) Missing: 1 Dead: 10 Beaten: 50 est

MAZHOU: (near Egomeni?) FEB 83: 4 villagers were abducted to the bush, and were tortured with sticks and knives. One villager attacked his assailant, allowing another to escape. 3 were then killed. (file H) Dead: 3 Beaten: 1

ST WILFRED’S SCHOOL ( Pumula Mission area) 2 FEB 1983: Some of the ex ZIPRA in this area ran away in January. The mothers of 2 were tortured for “parenting dissidents”, and were then shown 5 men including their sons. These 5 were taken to Tsholotsho town, and 2 weeks later one returned, with serious gunshot wounds. He had climbed out of a mass grave in which he had been shot with many others, and had made his way home. He died a day later. (609-11) Dead: 5 plus possibly others Beaten: 2 plus possibly others

MANALA: (West of Pumula Mission, resettled) 29 MARCH 1983: 1 beaten, bayoneted, finally killed the next day, and his body burnt, by 5 Brigade. (1230) Dead: 1

SALANKOMO ( approx 5 km north west of Mission): **28 JAN 1983: 20 5B soldiers came in the morning and killed the village ZAPU chairman and 2 schoolboys, one aged 14. They were beaten in front of the villagers first, and all the adults present were also beaten. (Comm of Inquiry Statement, also file H). **28 FEB 1983: same soldiers rounded up people in the village and put 2 men, 7 women, 2 with babies, and 3 children into one hut.

They set fire to the hut, and the men inside forced the door open. As the 12 ran out, 6 were shot and killed including a baby and a girl, and 1 was shot and left for dead. **CCJP has on record the Medical Cards and Comm of Inquiry statement of the victim who suffered a GSW to the stomach in Feb 83 incident – records start from May 83 by which time wound is very infected. (file A, also file H) Two more homesteads were burnt at a later date. (BLPC 338-9, 457, 3274-5) Dead: 9 GSW: 1 Beaten: 5 plus possibly others Homes burnt: 3 known

NDAWANA (6 km west of Pumula Mission): FEB 83: 2 villagers from here were curfew breaking and their tracks were reported by villagers from Egomeni nearby, who did not know who they were. 5B prepared to beat and destroy all at Egomeni, and had already dug mass graves.

However, the 2 from Ndawana were caught before this happened, and they were killed instead. (file H, also 3273-6).

The soldiers then moved to Ndawana, where the commander ordered the whole village into a hut and set fire to it. Once the commander left, another 5B soldier let the villagers out of the hut, so they were spared. (file H) MARCH 83: an old man from here was taken to Pumula Mission, tied to a tree and forced to make animal sounds. 5B also killed his ox. (3272) Dead: 2 Tortured: 1 Burnt: 2 homesteads

SOLONKWE: (4 km north west of Pumula Mission, now resettled) **JUNE 1983: CCJP Comm of Inquiry report of 22 villagers including women and children burnt to death in a hut, after being brutally beaten first. The owner of the hut begged for the lives of his 4 youngest children to be spared, and this was allowed, although the life of an older daughter was not spared. (file A, file H also refers, also 316-17, 322, 462) Dead: 22 Burnt: 1 hut

PELANDABA (west of Pumula Mission): 29 JAN 1983: 5B rounded up many men from the area, tortured them until they couldn’t walk and shot them. File H names 8 victims, **CCJP case files also reports 11 other named deaths here in 1983, probably same day, and 1 death in 1984. BLPC names 2 more victims from Jan incident. (342-346) 3 others killed, including a married couple who went to report dissidents in the area. (345, 348)

Dead: 25 named victims Beaten: 50 estimated

SEQWINI: ( approx 15 km due north of Pumula Mission): 15 APRIL 1983:1 person killed by 5 Brigade, bayoneted to death. (1232) Dead: 1

TANKENI: (NW of Pumula Mission) 1983? a villager from here was one of 6 men beaten and then machine gunned by 5B at Mzimwatuga. 5B also burnt homesteads in the village and destroyed crops and livestock. (403) Dead: 6 Burnt: several homesteads.

KORODZIBA (west of Pumula Mission, now resettled): FEB 83: 5B came to the school and took about 60 pupils aged over 14 years. They were all beaten and asked about dissidents. 20-30 girls were raped and then ordered to have sex with some of the boys while the soldiers watched. They were beaten for 3 hours. (3311) 4 MARCH 1983: 5 villagers were murdered at night for being PF-ZAPU members. (1223-27 incl)

Also MARCH: 2 children out of a group of children died of starvation trying to run away from 5 Brigade in this area.

They were trying to reach Ngamo railway siding, which is about 100 km NE of Korodziba. The dead were aged 9 and 14, the survivor was 15. (1234-5) Dead: 5 plus 2 Raped:25? Beaten:60

SOLOBONI (west of Pumula Mission, now resettled): 23 FEB 1983: 5 Brigade rounded up entire village to the borehole. 6 people were chosen at random and were bayoneted to death, and buried in one grave. Everyone was then beaten. 5 people were beaten to death, and one person died years later, partly as a result of injuries from this beating.

Another man who wept to see his brother killed, was severely beaten and died a few weeks later from his injuries. One old lady who was found in her hut was raped, and 5B then set fire to a plastic bag and burned the old lady with it, setting fire to her blanket. She died 3 weeks later from the burns. (3313) 1 hut was burnt. (1238-42 incl, 1282-87 incl) Dead: 14 Raped: 1 Beaten: 50 est Burnt: 1 hut

GIBIXEGU (north west of Pumula Mission, now resettled) 2 FEB 1983: 5B entered the village in a truck and rounded all the villagers up. 2 women were tortured and a man taken away was never seen again. 6 people were beaten to death, including 4 women. (275, 697-703 incl) Dead: 6 Missing: 1 Beaten: 2 known, plus others

EMANALENI (7 km north west of Ematetshaneni) On the same day that 5B beat and killed people at Gibixegu, they “did the same” at Emanaleni (698). A villager was taken by the Army and killed with bayonets, because he asked “World Vision” to film atrocities in their area. (613) MARCH 1983: 5B killed a headman from Filabusi and chopped off a woman’s head. (1228 9) Dead: 4?

EGAGWINI (approx 25 km due north of Pumula Mission): MARCH 1983: One young man was taken by 5 Brigade, badly beaten, returned, and while his parents were washing his wounds, 5 Brigade came back and shot him. (1236) Dead: 1

EMATETSHANENI (approx 24 km due north of Pumula Mission): FEB 1983 School treasurer beaten and then shot for not handing over funds, 500 m from his home. (1237) Dead: 1

SIHAZELA (30 km north of north east of Pumula Mission) FEB 1983: an old man was shot 500 m from his home by 5B. They came back 3 days later and killed the old man’s wife and daughter, and burned down the homestead. They also kicked a year-old child and broke his back. (599-603) Dead: 3 Injured: 1 Burnt: 1 homestead

MKHONYENI ( Between Dzimidza-Sihazela, approx 20 km north of north east of Pumula Mission): END JAN 1983: the first woman to die in this area was accused of feeding dissidents. She was pregnant and was bayoneted open to kill the baby. She died later. (350) FEB 1983: All the villagers were forced to witness the burning to death of 26 villagers, in the 3 huts of Dhlamini. (326-37 incl, 347-49, 605-7). Women and children died. There was only one survivor.

File H lists all names of victims. The same report says that a few days before the hut burning, many men were killed, in punishment for having failed to catch a local thief the 5B wanted. (5 names in file H, 7 more in **CCJP case files) **CCJP case files also name 9 who died here, probably same incident as above. Just before the hut burning, at least one woman was beaten to death. (334) MARCH 1983: many men were shot dead at Mzimwatuga Pan.

This was in punishment for having failed to catch a local thief 5B wanted. This report also mentions the hut burning (file H, also 604) Another villager was stabbed to death at Tshiyakwakiwe, near the pan. Another villager also died in this area. (332, 353) **CCJP also report 1 missing here in 1983. Missing: 1 Dead: 1(pregnant): 26 in the hut: 12 named victims at the pan: 3 others = 42

****JULY 1984: Dissidents killed the ZANU chairman as he was addressing a meeting. (1231) Dead: 1.


1. Nehanda Radio (2012) ‘Gukurahundi Massacres: Overview of 5 Brigade Abuses (Part 10)’

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