Two police officers were killed, one of them kicked to death, in clashes Saturday with members of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe National Liberation Army, the national police reported yesterday.
The two incidents were the first since independence in April in which the police identified members of Mugabe's victorious guerrilla army as being responsible for attacks on security forces. Those forces are under the command of Home Affairs Minister Joshua Nkomo, a rival of Mugabe who joined him in a loose alliance to win power.
Mubabe, on a visit to the United States, is due in Washington this week.
A police spokesman said men of the liberation army kicked to death a black constable who tried to halt a dispute between them and prison staff in Mtoko, 70 miles northeast of Salisbury.
Four hours later, the Mtoko police station came under heavy fire and paramilitary police were called. As they drove past a camp for several hundred liberation army guerrillas, a white member of the police unit was killed by a bullet and another officer was wounded by shrapnel, police said, adding that the shrapnel injury indicated the attackers also used rockets, grenades or bazookas.
Mugabe's guerrillas were interned at camps during the cease-fire that led up to Rhodesia's independence from Britain as Zimbabwe.