HOPE FOUNTAIN, ZIMBABWE, NOV. 27 -- The men who killed 16 missionaries and their children near this southern Zimbabwean town said in a note they gave to a 13-year-old girl whose life they spared that they want to "drive western capitalist-oriented people out of the country," a senior Zimbabwean official said today.

Two Americans were killed in the attack yesterday. They were identified today as David Emerson, 34, a farmer, and Karen Iversdahl, 34, a veterinary assistant, both of Choteau, Mont. Both had been living at the Pentecostalist farm for "three or four years," said Simon Rhodes, an Assembly of God minister and former member of the group. The settlement had received substantial funding from American Christians, he said.

A British woman, 56-year-old Jean Campbell, also was killed. The other victims were white Zimbabweans. None of the blacks living on the farm was harmed.

The attack on the 10,000-acre communal farm was the worst incident of antiwhite violence since Zimbabwe became an independent, black-ruled nation in 1980.

"These people were engaged in production and talked about peace," Home Affairs Minister Enos Nkala said of the missionaries at a news conference in Harare. "They were the people we so much value."

{State Department spokesman Charles Redman said in Washington that the United States shared "the outrage" of the Zimbabwean government over the "wanton murder."}

Esneth Dube, housekeeper at the farm, told police that about 20 armed men gathered the victims into one of the houses, bound them with barbed wire and killed them with axes. One man also was shot. The killers then burned the houses and threw the bodies, including those of a 6-week-old baby and three other children, into the blaze.

The only two survivors among the missionaries' families found each other the next morning. Six-year-old Matthew Morais had slipped though a window and hid behind some rocks within earshot of the massacre. Laura Russell, 13, was spared by the killers so she could deliver their message to authorities.

The girl's grandparents, John and Elaine Russell, returned last night from a two-month visit to the United States. They learned at the airport that they had lost nine family members, said Roy McCrindle, headmaster of the Founders School in Bulawayo and an associate of the missionaries.

Nkala said a dispute with some squatters on the farm property was the immediate reason for the attack. He said the local authorities last week evicted a large group of squatters, and the attacks seemed to be a reprisal.

Squatters have been a volatile political issue here lately. The eight-year-old war to overthrow white rule focused largely on land reform, yet seven years later much of Zimbabwe's best land is still owned by whites. The government forcibly evicted at least 40,000 squatters from private and public land in October.

Yesterday's killings also took place in the heart of a region already torn by ethnic and racial violence. The southern Matabeleland provinces are the home of the Ndebele tribe, which comprises about 20 percent of the population. Considerable resentment exists there toward the majority Shona tribe, of which Prime Minister Robert Mugabe and most high government officials are members.

Loosely organized guerrillas, whom the government calls "dissidents," have been raiding villages, ambushing government vehicles and killing white farmers here almost since independence. Seventy-six Matabeleland whites have been murdered since 1980, 25 this year.

Home Affairs Minister Nkala, himself an Ndebele, has contended that the dissidents are supported by opposition leader Joshua Nkomo and his Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), even while Mugabe is trying to join his and Nkomo's parties. Nkomo has repudiated the violence and denies involvement.

The situation is confused because the dissidents occasionally claim allegiance to ZAPU, even if they deny receiving any support from it.Special correspondent Dan Baum contributed to this report from Harare, Zimbabwe.