When Zimbabwe formerly known as Rhodesia was still ruled by colonial government, Black Nationalist guerrillas were wreaking havoc by executing deadly attacks against the white minority government.
The guerillas were ruthless in their terror campaigns but mostly attacked Bridges and railroads that linked Rhodesia with Botswana and South Africa.
Current Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa was part of the guerillas. He was a member of the famous Crocodile Gang which gave the colonial regime sleepless nights.
In 1964, a rebel Mnangagwa was arrested by the Rhodesian forces in connection with the bombing of Rhodesian steam locomotive in Fort Victoria (now Masvingo).
During his interrogation by state security agents, he was forced to hold an explosive device. The interrogators wanted him to admit that he was responsible for bombing the train.
Mnangagwa has for the first time opened up on circumstances surrounding his 1964 arrest after the train bombing.
He said that he narrowly escaped castration by admitting that he was responsible for bombing the Rhodesian train.
The interrogators told him that they had evidence that he had received military training both in China and Egypt. They locked him up in a cell but in that room, they took a TNT explosive and a fuse and pinned them with a blasting cable.
“When you lit that it would explode within a matter of minutes and because I did engineering in China I knew that if it blasts we were all going to die,” Mnangagwa.
“They wanted to test if I was trained militarily so they asked me to hold that explosive while standing at the window and ordinarily a trained person was bound to throw it away through the window before it explodes.”
He did as directed by the captors and threw the bomb in the room but one of them jumped and grabbed the bomb and threw it through the window and it exploded outside. He said this guy is innocent if he was a trained person he would have thrown the explosive away.
Mnangagwa remembers that he was then taken to another office where the Minister of Justice, Law and Order at the time Desmond Lardner Burke had already signed my restriction papers for five years.
He said that he was sending him for restriction for five years so he asked him to sign papers but before “we allow you to go, we want to castrate you so take off your shoes.”
“They undressed me and asked me to sit on a bench where they had placed a burdizzo castrator. I looked at it and the moment they attempted to castrate me I said no, no, let me tell you the truth. I am the one who bombed the steam locomotive and I was also trained in China and Egypt. They said that is enough to hang you and they took me to remand.”