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  • 2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles

  • Interview with Ben Freeth and Angela Campbell (rough transcript with audio files)
    Peter Etheredge
    June 30, 2008

    View audio file details

    View images of the injuries incurred in this attack here

    Read the Daily Telegraph article about this attack here

    Ben Freeth (BF)
    Angela Campbell (AC)
    Peter Etheredge - Interviewer (PE)

    Ben Freeth

    BF - And when they got there they beat my feet quite badly -they beat my feet for a long time

    PE - Where was Mike and Angela at this time?

    BF - They were also being beaten.

    PE - They were lying next to you? ...

    PE - Ben what also happened at Pixton - I believe you were forced to sign some papers?

    BF - I am not quite sure. I did not sign anything but Angela signed something but I'm not too sure what it was all about. They were wanting us to withdraw the SADC case and so it was under serious duress. Yes obviously we will refute that.

    PE - They obviously saw Bruce driving into Chegutu?

    BF - Yes because he had some serious shots fired at him.

    PE - Did you notice any weapons in the car?

    BF - Yes there were weapons.

    PE - Did you notice whether there were any hunting rifles, automatic weapons or shotguns?

    BF - No I'm not really sure but there was one weapon that they beat me with. I'm not sure whether it was a shotgun or a rifle.

    PE - Ok

    BF - They shot at me when I drove in. Fortunately the bullet missed me.

    PE - Would it have been a heavy calibre weapon or .22.type thing? Did it go through the windscreen?

    BF - Yah and it sort of dazed me a bit. Then they grabbed me out of the vehicle and I was pretty sure that we were all going to be killed. We were praying and everybody else was praying and amazingly they told us they were going to kill us.

    PE - This was Gilbert Moyo himself?

    BF - Yah. I'm not really sure what he looks like.

    PE - He is my sort of my build, my height?...So these guys grabbed you and pulled you out the vehicle?

    BF - They pulled my jersey off and my shirt off.

    PE - How many guys?

    BF - There must have been about 30.

    PE - And were they all climbing into you?

    BF - Yah.

    PE - They obviously had sticks and stuff?

    BF - Yah.

    PE - We heard that there was a report that there was a mini bus.

    BF - It looked like a white Ford, it looked like one of those Ford Transit vans and they also had a red pick up which was Kobus's. This was one of the ones they took out to Pixton.

    PE - Did the whole lot follow you out there?

    BF - Yah - there were about fifty (50) there.

    PE - What did they do, sit you down and chant around you?

    BF - Yah they made us lie down in the ground on the dirt and grass. Yah then they just laid into us.

    PE - Was this at Pete Henderson's farm, Ranwick?

    BF - I'm not really sure. It was all dark. I was lying down in the back of the Prado.

    PE - Do you know if you drove through a security fence/gate?

    BF - I'm not too sure I was lying down so I couldn't really see anything as I was lying down. Angela would have a better idea she was sitting up in the back seat. We were there quite a while. They then put us back in the car.

    PE - Did you walk or did they throw you in the back.

    BF - They threw us in the back I couldn't move because I was still tied up.

    PE - So they tied you up?

    BF - Yah they tied my arms and legs so I couldn't move at all. Shit it was tight I couldn't move at all. I couldn't feel my hands because of the blood circulation. I couldn't feel my hands after five minutes because of the blood circulation. . . . They then untied us when we got to Kadoma. We had no idea where we were. They then dropped us on the tar on the side of the road I managed to go to a house and woke someone up there. I then managed to get a phone and spoke to Laura. . . . inaudible

    Angela Campbell Part 1

    AC. They made us sign this thing that we wouldn't proceed with the SADC court case. If we signed they said they wouldn't kill us. So I did it.

    . . .

    Doctor speaking and asks what happened

    AC - The Zanu PF thugs beat us up from three this pm until about 1200 They arrived at our house.

    PE - Did they run into the house?

    AC - Yes. When Mike came out I was in the Land Cruiser. I was on my way to Laura's. When I got out the car they grabbed me. There were about 20-30. Most of them were in the red bakkie which was Kobus's. They just wrestled me to the ground. Then Mike came out. When Mike came out they were shouting abuse at him and hit him to the ground. I jumped out of the car and ran towards him. They then attacked me. They were beating him with sticks. There were 10 of them that attacked me.

    PE/OR DR - How old are you Angela?

    AC - 66. They got hold of my arm and ripped it to the side and then chucked me on the ground. And I knew my arm was injured. Then they shoved us in the car. Ben arrived just after we had all been trussed up. They shot at him and just nearly missed him. They then pulled him out and started beating him.

    PE/OR DR - Was your arm broken?

    AC - It feels like it. It felt like it wasn't attached. . . . inaudible

    Nurses and medical staff intervene and tape inaudible.....

    AC - When we were lying trussed up outside our garage one of them came and piddled all over my head. After that they pulled me down onto the ground they pulled me by my hair. I just saw a huge bunch of hair in his hands.

    PE - Angela where did they take you apparently they were driving you around?

    AC - Well they were so confused. I don't know whether that Moyo was with them. I don't know what he looks like. There was one guy quite a burly sort of chap. Quite a big almost European type nose and he was calling the shots.

    DR - A shortish sort of guy?

    AC - Yah well, my sort of size but quite well built. Maybe a bit taller. Anyway he was the one calling the shots

    (Ben arrives and then PE asks Angela)

    PE - Would you be able to recognize him?

    AC Yes I had a got a good look at him because he was shouting and talking to us a lot. And he was in the car in the passenger seat next to me. I was in the back passenger seat and I was looking at him all the way on the journey.

    PE - Where did they take you?

    AC - Well first of all - you know - they took Ben's car to the grid to the entrance to the farm and parked it across the grid to stop people coming in. And they just shot it up and totally trashed it. And Bruce said about 40 shots must have been fired with tyres ripped. And then they shot out with their two vehicles and our Prado with us in it. We passed the truck and then they came to a screeching halt near the main road. Then there was talk as to what they should do. Then a car came along.

    PE - Were they talking in English or Shona?

    AC - Then a car came along. Mostly Shona but the army guy spoke quite a lot of English just to try and frighten us. Anyway then Bruce arrived. And they all jumped off the red truck and dashed into the bush shooting off bullets and down the road and then there was one gun that looked like a piece of pipe. It made a funny pump noise not like a shotgun. The one guy who was using it - he was a nasty character.

    Then we shot off down to Bronkhorst's. Bruce had at this stage appeared. He was parked at Violetsvale and I think someone else was with him - it could have been Jason. Anyway they saw this lot - cavalcade of us coming down with all these guns and they were shooting out the window. And Bruce and Jason - thank goodness - just took off and these guys chased them and fortunately Bruce got out of range and then suddenly we were in the Bronkhorst's and the army guy - he knew the topography - and he said. [inaudible].and then they screeched to a halt.

    They turned into Bronkhorst's and they said they were going to see Brian with the Dairy farm - and we drove at a great speed - and I can tell you it was very scary because Mike and Ben were just chucked into the back of the Prado and it was terrible for them. Anyway, then we get to Bronkhorst's. Thank goodness he was not there. I'm not sure - but it looks as though they might have taken some keys from the maid because there was some transaction going on - and then we went and shot out of there to Stockdale turn off - and then left into the strip road and then they turned around where they were obviously waiting in ambush for Bruce. And then a whole lot jumped out of the vehicle into the bush opposite the Stockdale turn off and they were shooting.

    PE - What, had Bruce came around the corner?

    AC - No. I think they were shooting at anything. I'm not sure about that, but there were lots of shots. And then that guy George - he was the guy sitting next to me - a sort of pale character and he was so excited about shooting at anything.

    We then turned around and right again towards Gadzema. Drove along a bit obviously looking for Bruce. They were calling this George and then he comes out of the bush and then he said "I shot that vehicle" which was obviously Bruce's vehicle and hit it in the wheel tyres. He said he had shot tyres and they all bundled in and took off at great speed and turned off the flyover [towards Chegutu] and into the location and came out over railway line. Turned right down the station road out onto the national road just a little bit and then turned right before the police station and went down there.

    There is a road next to the new Concession hill road - we went down there. We had been going for a couple of kilometers. They then blindfolded me. They did not want me to know where they were going - and then we went for ages, I'm sure further than Ranwick. The road was very rough.

    He was actually going slowly and the trees were hitting the side of the car. And then we got to this 'pungwe' and were pulled out of the car and Mike was just chucked on the ground and Ben as well. They untied me and they did not tie me up again.

    And then there was this fire going. They had stolen all this meat. Bruce had just shot a beast yesterday - and we had this meat in the fridges in the house - and there was all this meat being chucked onto the fire and there was singing and they were talking about the cost of 2 kilograms of meat. And then they bought cold water and poured it all over us. I was sitting on the ground and they did not - actually apart from at home - pull me along by my hair and rip my arm. . . . One guy with a stick mostly punched me on my head.

    Anyway, then after the water, it was ages. We just sat there shivering. Mike was just moaning. Ben was also terribly tied up. Really sore. We didn't speak to each other but if we did and spoke, they bashed you. Then there was one guy who seemed to have a kind streak who was sitting across the fire. And he told me to come and sit next to the fire - which was a huge help. So I sat next to the fire.

    They were inspecting my hands and ripped the rings off. And then my engagement ring and other ring wouldn't come off. This tall thin dark man hit me so badly across the back and then said "Ag we
    will just cut your fingers off." There was a "nanny" there. I asked her to get some soap and cold water and said you can get the rings off. She did. They got the rings off.

    And then every now and again - the army guy came and told how we had killed his ancestors, Mbuya Nehanda and that we had stolen the land and the usual crap. They went off - a whole group to another fire. And they started chanting and singing and saying "hondo hondo hondo". And then they all came back to us and closely packed around us and then they started ... [doctors come in and PE moves away]...

    Angela Campbell Part 2

    PE asks AC to carry on.

    AC We were all tightly packed and they started to kick and bash Ben. They produced a hippo hidee sambok - which I recognize as Mike's and they started beating Ben on the feet and on his back. It was quite a long time for Ben. And then they put their attention on Mike and told him to sit up. I don't know what they did to him. I'm not sure. They bashed him with a sambok and were shouting stupid things at him. And then there was a guy standing there pointing saying - we must get into the car. He was speaking in Shona and I didn't really understand but I picked up a few things.

    This army guy said in English. "We will have to kill them because dead bodies cannot talk". So that was what the intention was. And there were other people shouting at us - abusive things at us certainly but I'm not sure who it was now. I can't remember if it was the army guy now.

    They produced a sort of note book and blank page and said to Mike - if you sign to say that you will not go to SADC then we won't kill you. We will just give you a hard time. So Mike said "ok". His fingers were badly broken so they handed me the book and I wrote this and signed my name and ID number. And they were happy with that. Suddenly the whole thing changed.

    . . . nurses intervene

    PE then reminds Angela she had got to the point of the signed SADC document . . .

    AC I left something out. And at the same time I was told by one guy to sit in a circle and sing. So I think he was wanting me to sing a Chimurenga song. So I sang a nursery rhyme at which someone pulled a stick out of the fire and stuck it on my mouth and that's what burnt my mouth.

    It was quite amazing because there was one guy who was sitting close to the fire and was sticking up for me - because he rebuked this guy and told him to stop it and took the stick away from him and threw it in the fire. And this guy was calling me Madam.

    PE - Did you recognize him?

    AC You know it was so dark. It was just the flames. I don't think I would recognize him. Anyway, we hear the whole atmosphere change after we signed that piece of paper and the army guy said they were going to take us to another place where they were going to kill us and give us a hard time. We must behave ourselves and not go to the police; we must not report it to the newspapers otherwise they will come and get us. They bundled us into the Prado at the back.

    It was very painful for Ben and Mike again because their hands were up against the hard side bits. Ben had a cut in the side of his head and they were very, very sore. Anyway they took off on this very rough road again. And then this man climbed over the back seat right next to where I was crunched up next to the back seat of the car and started telling us he was going to Mount Carmel straight after he has dropped us off. And he was going to find that person who was shooting at them . . . we said we didn't know.

    We then went for ages and I then started seeing lights from Eiffel Flats. And then we were in Kadoma. And then another guy climbed over the back seat where we were lying and undid the ropes for Ben and Mike and then climbed back over the seat and shortly after that they stopped on a remote bit of town. We didn't know where it was. And they got us out of the car and the one guy got out and opened the door and got us out and just left us on the tarmac. As he closed the door he turned around and said "Sorry about this". I don't know whether this was the guy that stopped the guy burning me by the fire.

    We didn't know where we were actually. Ben said, well there was a house close by that he went and called and got some response and he was able to use their phone. And then we just waited for the others to come.

    PE Whereabouts was this in Kadoma?

    AC: I would say on left hand side going to the Ranch somewhere near the Ranch Hotel area - I couldn't really tell. The houses were quite far apart. Lots of bush and grass. It was a very long half hour because Mike was on his hands and knees on the tarmac. Anyway Bruce, Kathy and Laura arrived.

    PE. They picked you up and took you to Chegutu . . . inaudible . . .

    AC Then I presume Gilbert Moyo wrote out some kind of paper thing about the Prado - that he is taking it. I said I couldn't see. He said it's about the Prado. He wants it for four months and if we behave ourselves and don't go to the police and don't tell newspapers - then I will bring it back after 4 months. And then I had to sign that as well.

    [PE I am sure the police knew what was going on because I was trying to relay info around from here and the way the police suddenly packed up they knew exactly what was going on. He [Ganyani] is the one that is controlling it]

    Audio File

    Note: The gaps of silence in the audio files indicate where the interview was interrupted, for example by medical staff, or where the tape is inaudible. Some parts are difficult to hear, and audio quality particularly deteriorates towards the end of the Angela Campbell recording.

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