Government air and ground forces killed about 60 Patriotic Front guerrillas and three Zambian civilians during a two-day raid into Zambia, military headquarters said today.
In a dispatch it said had been censored, Reuter reported that Zimbabwe-Rhodesian forces launched the attack against guerrillas of Joshua Nkomo's Zambian-based wing of the Patriotic Front, which is led jointly with the Mozambique-based Robert Mugabe. One white Rhodesian soldier was reported killed.
There was no immediate comment from Zambia and Zambia Radio did not mention the attack in its news programs.
The cross-border operation began yesterday and ended today, the headquarters said.
Military spokesmen told reporters taken to a forward air base in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia that intelligence reports had indicated a buildup of 250 to 300 guerrillas. They were waiting to cross into Zimbabwe-Rhodesia to join the seven-year bush war against the Salisbury government, the spokesmen said.
Jets and helicopters led the latest attack, shocking the defenders of a guerrilla base camp, some of whom put a "spirited defense," Brigadier Mike Shute, who commanded the operation, told reporters.
The raiders struck about 60 miles into Zambia, and the guerrilla base was in a heavily populated area near Kalomo, a military spokesman said.
The three Zambian civilians were killed in a cross fire, he said.
A military spokesman said that Zimbabwe-Rhodesian helicopters followed up the raid today after sighting another group of guerrillas near Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River frontier. Eleven more guerrillas were killed in this action, the spokesman said.