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Zimbabwe powerbroker, ex-defence chief Mujuru dies in blaze
by Staff Writers
Harare Aug 16, 2011

Zimbabwe's first post-independence defence chief and leader of President Robert Mugabe's guerrilla war forces, Solomon Mujuru, died in a fire at his home, his party said Tuesday. It was unclear what caused the blaze at the house of the 62-year-old retired general, husband of Vice President Joyce Mujuru, a ZANU-PF official said. "There was a fire at his house and he died as result of that but we do not know the cause of that fire," party official Simon Khaya Moyo told AFP. It was not immediately known if Joyce Mujuru was also at the house in Beatrice, south of the capital Harare. Solomon Mujuru retired from service in 1995 but remained one of the most respected figures in Zimbabwe's political and military circles. He led Mugabe's forces from training camps in Mozambique in the 1970s guerrilla war against Ian Smith's white-minority regime, serving as commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe National Liberation Army. At independence in 1980, Mujuru was appointed the first commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, combining the armies of former liberation movements and of Smith's Rhodesia. He later served in the powerful politburo and central committee of Mugabe's ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front).

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