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Mugabe Urges Anti-S. Africa Armed Force

June 16, 1986|From Reuters

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Prime Minister Robert Mugabe called Sunday for the establishment of an African defense force to topple South Africa's government.

Mugabe told 40,000 chanting supporters here that the Organization of African Unity should no longer adopt "pious resolutions" condemning the Pretoria authorities, whom he accused of butchering the black majority.

Instead, Mugabe said, the OAU must urgently devise ways of arming South Africa's guerrilla movements and also set up a military force to overthrow the government.

Mugabe spoke at a rally marking the 10th anniversary of the Soweto uprising.

"I cannot see South Africa defeating an African force that is well armed. This is certainly the words I will take to the OAU summit in Addis Ababa next month," Mugabe said.

He said he is launching a "solidarity fund" for South African blacks and asked each Zimbabwean to donate one dollar (57 U.S. cents) or more, adding that he is contributing the equivalent of $1,140 (U.S.).

Mugabe denounced President Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for refusing to impose sanctions against Pretoria and urged them not to "value their dividends and profits" above the freedom of South Africa.

Describing the apartheid system as terrorism, he asked, "Does terrorism, when practiced by South Africa, cease to be terrorism?" He added with a trace of sarcasm: "When whites kill blacks it is not terrorism, but when blacks kill whites that is terrorism?"

Mugabe argued that South African raids on Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe last month and South Africa's imposition of a nationwide state of emergency shows that it is not interested in ending apartheid but instead is prepared to escalate violence in defense of white supremacy.

"None of South Africa's neighbors is safe," he said.

Mugabe said his government is planning to set up an additional military brigade--there are already five others--and to give military training to Zimbabweans to enable them to defend themselves against Pretoria's "unprovoked aggression."

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