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11 Jun, 12 tweets, 3 min read
Rhodesian Bombers Humiliate Zambia

On September 3, 1978, guerrillas from the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army shot down a Rhodesian civilian airliner en route to Salisbury (now Harare).

The guerrillas gathered the handful of survivors on the ground, mostly women and children, and machine-gunned them all, including two small girls of eleven and four. Only a few wounded survivors lived to tell the tale.
The guerrillas were based in Zambia, just across the Zambezi to the north of Rhodesia. Their main camp was at Westland Farm(somewhere in Lusaka West), north of the Zambian capital of Lusaka, and hundreds of miles away from the border.
For the Rhodesians to strike back would mean taking wholesale control of Zambian airspace, and ferrying aircraft and soldiers deep into a hostile country. Needless to say, neither the guerrillas nor the Zambians expected them to do it.
On October 19, 1978, the Rhodesians did it.
Led by a man known only as “Green Leader”,an aerial task force appeared over Lusaka and informed the Zambians that Rhodesia now owned their airspace, and would continue to do so until the Rhodesian assault on the guerrilla camp at Westland Farm was through.
The ultimatum delivered by Green Leader to the Lusaka tower is a classic, as is the exchange between the shocked Zambians and the Rhodesian commander. (Snippet of the actual exchange in the video in the first tweet).
Toward the end of the sortie, a Kenya Airlines captain awaiting clearance to land asked in confusion: “Who has priority here anyway?” The reply from the Zambian traffic controller: “Well, I think the Rhodesians do at this time.”
“No revenge,” said a Zambian taxi driver. “They bomb us and raid us but we say, `No revenge.’ President Kaunda says we are not strong enough.” There was no hint of his own feelings and he abruptly changed the subject.
For President Kenneth D. Kaunda, the raids brought the realities of war to his doorstep. They revealed the inadequacy of Zambia's defense system, which $20 million in new British equipment will only partly rectify.
KK then took a more forceful line. He said he was diverting Government funds from badly‐needed development projects to purchase new arms—a move to assuage public fears and also to soothe the feelings of army officers, angry at not being allowed to strike back at the attackers.
President Kaunda was walking through a minefield of explosive feelings among Zambians and could only caution that retaliatory strikes would be “committing suicide.”

-New York Times & samvousa.org

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