Sixteen black African men, women and children were killed in a hail of gunfire by black nationalist guerrillas who attacked and buried their homes on a white-owned farm in eastern Rhodesia, military headquarters said today.
"A gang of terrorists rounded up the labor force of Odzanu Junction farm and opened fire indiscriminately on men, women and children," a communique said.
"Twelve men and women and two children were killed and 12 wounded. Two of the wounded died later in hospital," it added.
There was no immediate comment from black nationalist spokesman. Black leaders in the past, have blamed similar raids on the Selous Scout, a unit of the Rhodesia army noted for its unorthodox tactics.
A Rhodesian security official said the raid was an attempt to frighten black workers off white farms.
Police Det. Peter J. Kok led correspondents to the farm, which is near the Mozambique border.
In the shade of a tree, surrounded by pots, Pans and half-eaten food, lay the bodies of massacre victims. Some, like one pregnant woman were riddled with bullets. Others, including children, were almost completely charred.
In the bush two miles away, troops discovered an 8-year-old girl who had dragged herself away with a bullet wound in the leg. She was hospitalized.
Kok said two separate gangs of terrorists staged the attack, with one hurling grenades and firing at the house of the farm owner while the others raided the workers' compound about half a mile away.
At the compound, workers, their families and friends from neighboring farms were having a beer-drinking session.
Kok quoted survisors as saying the 10 to 12 terrorists dragged families out of brick huts and set fire to thatched roofs.
"Fortunately a lot of the workers escaped into the cotton fields and the bush," he said.
Those who failed to get away "were herded together and shot at point blank range."
A worker who managed to escape said the terrorists had told the workers "we should leave the farm. That's why we were beaten up."
While the compound was being raided, the other terrorist band of about 10 men fired automatic rifles and hurled grenades at the brick farmhouse.
Last month 27 members of a single black family were herded into a hut and burned to death on a tea estate in Rhodesia's eastern highlands. Rhodesian authorities blamed black guerrillas for both massacres.