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Government protests Angolan allegations

The Zambian government has protested to the UN Security Council at “persistent accusations” by Angola in the past three weeks that it has helped transport arms to the UNITA rebel movement.

A senior government official told IRIN on Tuesday that Lusaka was still awaiting clarification from Angola on the claims first raised in a letter to the Zambian government on 14 January. The government has denied the allegations.

In a letter to the Security Council last week, the Zambian government said it had twice summoned the Angolan Charge d’Affaires to explain Luanda’s accusation that it had “credible information” on “substantial involvement of the Zambian authorities in the logistic and military support” for the UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.

The Zambian government told the Security Council Luanda had repeated the allegations in a press release naming Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Togo, Burkina Faso and “some individuals of South Africa’s former regime” as supporting Savimbi: “The government of Angola has further threatened ‘to wage a war without truce against Dr Savimbi and his co-religionists’.”
It recalled that similar allegations last year had been checked by a joint UN and OAU verification mission and that they had cleared Zambia of any wrongdoing, as had various joint Angola/Zambia Joint Inspection Team verification missions. It called on the UN to send a new team of independent monitors to investigate the latest allegations.

Meanwhile, Zambian newspapers on Tuesday said the government had revealed that the national carrier, Aero Zambia, had been operating illegal flights into Angola through a subsidiary airline called Crego Air. The reports quoted government officials as saying there was no evidence that the arms had been airlifted.

Zambia’s Director of Civil Aviation, Eustern Mambwe, told a news conference in Lusaka that Crego Air was operating flights in and out of Zambia using Aero Zambia colours, but was not registered as an airline in Zambia: “This is an abrogation of the civil aviation laws and my department is working in conjunction with the Zambia Airforce to investigate reports about the presence of these aircraft in the country.”


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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