The Selous Scouts was a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, which operated from 1973 until 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous (1851–1917), and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona, roughly means “all together”, “together only” or “forward together”.
Led by Major Ronald Reid-Daly (1928-2010), the unit, which was multi-racial in membership, specialised in irregular warfare. Its methods included infiltration, assassination, abduction, torture, sabotage and blackmail.
It is also claimed to have practiced psychological warfare. It was suspected of orchestrating “False Flag” operations designed to implicate and discredit the African guerrillas. One suspected incident concerns the murder of European Roman Catholic Missionaries in 1977. Though this and other attacks on missionaries were blamed on Black Nationalist groups, responsibility for the atrocities remain in doubt.
However, evidence that bomb attacks on churches were carried out by the unit in an attempt to discredit Black Nationalist organisations came in February 1980 after two members of the Scouts died when a bomb wrecked their car on Thursday, February 14th -the same night that three other bombs had been planted at Salisbury churches.
The Selous Scouts were effective in terms of eliminating Black Nationalist guerrillas. They had a “kill rate” which was far in excess of that of the regular Rhodesian Army. The unit was formed in 1973 and disbanded in 1980 when Rhodesia was re-constituted as Zimbabwe.