The Rhodesian defense force has conducted a raid on bases of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army in neighboring Mozambique, Rhodesian military headquarters announced yesterday in Salisbury.
The brief communique gave no details of the operation against one of the two guerilla armies fighting the biracial transitional government headed by Prime Minister Ian Smith. Informed sources said the raid,which began Tuesday, was still continuing and was aimed at two guerilla bases in Mozambique's Manica Province.
One of the bases is thought to be Gondola, which is not far from Chimoio, a base reportedly wiped out by Rhodesian forces in a similar raid last November. More than 1,200 people died in the raid, according to Rhodesian military authorities. It is disputed whether the victims were guerrillas or civilians.
It is the third time since the biracial government was set up March 3 that the white-officered Rhodesian army has acknowledged striking at guerilla bases in neighboring territory.
The latest raid follows the shelling of the Rhodesian border town of Umtali two weeks ago by guerrillas said by Rhodesian military forces to be Mugabe troops.
White Rhodesians were expecting a similar reprisal action against the forces of Joshua Nkomo in Zambia after they claimed responsbility for shooting down a civilian airliner Sept. 3. The guerrillas reportedly killed some of the survivors of the crash. Smith faced considerable criticism from his white constituents when no retailatory raid took place.
The apparent explanation for what appears to be a different policy toward the two guerrilla groups and their host countries is the Zambia has been supportive of secret talks between Smith and Nkomo to work out a settlement to end the six-year-old guerrilla war while Mozambique and Mugabe have opposed the secret initiative. The talks ended prematurely when they were disclosed by one of Smith's black colleagues the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole.