Lt. Gen. Peter Walls, who led the Rhodesian Army in its long war against black nationalist guerrillas, is retiring early from his post as head of newly independent Zimbabwe's military command.
His announced retirement caused apprehension Thursday among the country's 200 ,000 white minority, many of whom viewed the general's presence in high office as a guarantee their interests would be looked after in the black-ruled nation.
An official said General Walls would go on leave for five months beginning July 29, when he would relinquish all duties. His retirement would be effective as of the end of the year.
It was not known who would succeed him.
The general was appointed military commander by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe April 15, three days before Zimbabwe gained formal independence from Britain. The reasons for his sudden retirement were not immediately known.