Air Marshal Perence Shiri , 53, who is styled as Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe , is a cousin of President Mugabe. He was reported shot in the Harare Government newspaper The Herald on Saturday.
The BBC report he was ambushed on Saturday evening while driving to his farm, state media said. Police said he was accosted by unknown people who shot at his car.
Shiri has played a pivotal and central role in Zim from the days when he led and organised the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade n their murderous campaign of terror and murder in Matabeleland, to erase rural support for Joshua Nkomo, a nationalist leader . Reports of deaths vary from 10,000 to 25,000.
War criminal Mengistu who found a refuge in Zim with US help warned Mugabe that the swelling slum and backyard population in Zimbabwe was creating a fertile ground for a mass uprising. It needed stopping.
Called very extravagantly Operation Murambatsvina, the controversial home-demolition exercise left at least 700 000 people homeless and affected another 2,4-million people, according to a report by United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka.
After Mugabe accepted the idea, it was followed by several weeks of meticulous planning. Operation Murambatsvina began in May, a few weeks after the ruling Zanu-PF party trounced the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a controversial parliamentary election.
The first meeting to plan the logistics of the operation was chaired by Mengistu himself at CIO headquarters in Harare, and was attended by a tight clique of Mugabe supporters from the defence forces. Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Philip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, CIO director general Happyton Bonyongwe, his deputy, Menard Muzariri, and director of prisons Brigadier Zimondi. The police were represented by Deputy Commissioner Godwin Matanga.
The New York Times today claims that "officials" close to Mr. Mugabe said in interviews in October that Air Marshal Shiri was among the military commanders (of whom those listed above would form the core) who feared that the power-sharing deal with the opposition failed to protect them from prosecution for their roles in the country’s political violence.
Home Minister Kembo Mohadi was quoted in The Herald yesterday saying that the shooting was part of “a buildup of terror attacks targeting high-profile persons, government officials, government establishments and public transportation systems.”
His statement (which may or may not be accurate or anywhere near the truth) cited bombings in August of the Harare Central Police Station, a road and railroad bridges, as well as November bombings of the criminal investigation department’s headquarters in Harare and, again, the police station. It alleged that after investigations of the attacks, plastic explosives were recovered from a senior opposition official.
It would be premature to think that this "assassination" attempt represents a cracking of the ZANU leadership. Certainly squabbling over the dwindlings spoils and the restrictions on flight (Shri is banned from EU and US since 202/3) will lead to in fighting.
The cholera epidemic concerns no-one - Didymus Mutasa, the brutal, uneducated Security Minister is reported saying in 2002, that "we would be better off with only 6million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people".
So far that's going to plan.
Meanwhile the AFRICOM forces in Mali are undertaking training and exercises.
"The tyranny of distance in the African continent is amazing," said Lt. Col. Eric Hill, the 8th SOS squadron commander. "We were able to go over 500 nautical miles, infiltrate a small team for them to run their exercise, and bring them back all the way to home base without doing an air refueling stop. And we were able to do that in the span of about four hours."
"It would take the MH-53 (Pave Low) twice, sometimes three times as long (to do these missions)," Captain Woodlief an SOS Osprey pilot said. "And we did it with just one aircraft."
Members of the 1st Special Operations Helicopter Maintenance Squadron deployed to Bamako in support of the 8th SOS.
"We had zero maintenance cancels, zero delays, and we executed 100 percent every time," Captain Woodlief said. "I think we went above and beyond everyone's expectations."
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