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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The impact of Zimbabwean liberation struggle on Botswana: the case of Lesoma ambush, 1978
Authors:Makgala, C. JohnISNI
Fisher, Matshwenego L.
Periodical:New contree: a journal of historical and human sciences for Southern Africa
Geographic terms:Botswana
Subjects:national liberation struggles
military operations
Abstract:This article documents a hitherto neglected aspect of the history of the liberation struggle in southern Africa, viz. the impact of the Zimbabwean liberation struggle on Botswana and notably the Lesoma ambush of 1978. In the early 1970s the liberation movement in Rhodesia intensified its armed struggle against the Smith regime and the war spilled into Botswana as the Rhodesian army pursued liberation fighters into the country. By the mid-1970s the situation had gotten out of hand and many Tswana in the border area were adversely affected. This forced the Botswana government in 1977 to set up the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to defend the Botswana-Rhodesian border. However, the BDF had serious equipment limitations and no experience with guerrilla warfare. In this context, Rhodesian soldiers in pursuit of guerrillas ended up ambushing a BDF Platoon near Lesoma in February 1978. The ambush claimed the lives of fifteen BDF men and two civilian guides. The insecurity on the Rhodesia-Botswana border continued until the independence of Zimbabwe in 1980. Notes, ref., sum. in Tswana. [ASC Leiden abstract]