Selous Scouts
The insignia of the Selous Scouts.
AllegianceRhodesian Colonial Government
TypeSpecial forces
Roleterrorism, atrocities, raids, counter-terrorism, tracking
Size1,500 (peak)
Garrison/HQInkomo Barracks (Andre Rabie Barracks)
Nickname(s)Eskimos, Skuz' apo (Shona), Armpits with eyeballs
Motto(s)Pamwe chete (Shona; "All together")
EngagementsZimbabwe Liberation War
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Reid-Daly

Selous Scouts were a special forces regiment in the Rhodesian Security Forces which is know to have committed various atrocities against innocent Rhodesian African civilians in Rhodesia and the neighbouring countries.[1].The regiment was named British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous (1851–1917). Its motto was Pamwe Chete a Shona phrase meaning "all together".[2]

They operated in Rhodesia from about 1973 until the country's independence in 1980 and the charter that S created the Selous Scouts gave them the mandate to carry out clandestine operations of eliminating terrorists/terrorism both within and without the country.


The scouts were most effective during the Second Chimurenga sometimes referred to as the Rhodesian Bush War.


The Selous Scouts used asymmetric warfare against their enemies mainly ZANLA and ZIPRA forces whom they classified as terrorists.The Scouts activities that ranged from the bombing of private houses, abductions, M18 Claymore mine attacks against military targets, sabotage of bridges and railways (including steam engines), assassinations, intimidation, blackmail and extortion, to the use of car bombs .They attempted to assassinate Joshua Nkomo.


The regiment was made up of members of the British South Africa Police Special Branch, and many of its earliest recruits were policemen. The Rhodesian Light Infantry was also a driving force behind the Selous Scouts.

Notable features

People of many different races and countries of origin were employed in the Selous Scouts, including Australian, British, South African, American, and various African countries.

The regimental badge signifies the osprey, a fish-eating bird of prey found in small numbers in many parts of the world.


Nyadzonya Refugee Camp Attack

Known by Rhodesians as Operation Eland the Nyadzonya raid resulted in the death of 600 refugees and the injury of about 500, some of who later died. The raid is described in Fay Chung's book, Reliving the Second Chimurenga:

On 8 August 1976, the Selous Scouts entered Mozambique through Penhalonga, where there was no border post. Arriving at Nyadzonia at 7 o’clock in the morning of 9 August, dressed as FRELIMO troops, with their faces blackened and singing liberation songs, they were welcomed by children who climbed onto the army trucks. The cries of joy changed into screams of horror as the soldiers shot them dead. Nyadzonia had been invaded by enemy troops. Some survivors reported that although their faces were black, their hands were white. Their guide was Nyathi, who had until recently been camp commander at Nyadzonia. More than 600 refugees were killed. Some 500 sustained injuries, from which some were later to die. The Rhodesian forces blew up the bridge as they escaped back to Rhodesia. Two civilian cars that happened to be at the bridge at the time were also attacked. Three surveyors from the Cabora dam project, two of them foreigners, died in the attack. The Roman Catholic vicar general of Tete, Father Domingo Ferrao, was severely wounded, while a Spanish priest and six Mozambicans were killed. Before crossing back into Rhodesia, they opened fire on the village of Nova Gaia. [3]


  1. Fay Chung, Re-living the Second Chimurenga, Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe. Page: 141, Weaver Press, 2006. ISBN 91-710655-1-2.
  2. Melson, C.D, Top Secret War: Rhodesian Special Operations" Small Wars and Insurgencies , Small Wars and Insurgencies ,2005
  3. Fay Chung, Re-living the Second Chimurenga, Memories from the Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe. Page:141 Weaver Press, 2006. ISBN 91-710655-1-2.