Supreme Court considers Kaunda's citizenship (The Post, 30/10) - Dr. Kenneth Kaunda has rejected MMD cadre Patrick Katyoka's offer to withdraw the petition concerning his citizenship from the Supreme Court. One of the lawyers representing Dr. Kaunda, Sakwiba Sikota, yesterday said they were not about to make deals over the rights of their client. Katyoka has proposed to drop the petition which is currently before the Supreme Court for appeal. In his letter to the Attorney General, Katyoka stated that he did not want to deny Zambians of a chance to have two great statesmen "in Dr. Chiluba and Dr. Kaunda from one country". Katyoka said he also recognised the fact that Dr. Kaunda did a lot for the independence of Zambia. He proposed that each party to the appeal should bear its own costs after entering into a consent judgement to drop the case. But Sikota said they were in no mood to drop the appeal. "As far as we are concerned, we are not about to make deals over our client's rights and citizenship," he said. "The case is going on Monday and Tuesday. If Katyoka wants to throw in the towel, they must do so without condition. We are ready and we shall argue our appeal. We also want to claim the costs because this has been a very long and costly case so someone has to pay the costs." Dr. Kaunda was last year declared stateless by the Ndola High Court after Katyoka and late Remmy Mushota sued him claiming he was a foreigner who ruled Zambia illegally for 27 years. Dr. Kaunda, through his lawyers, appealed against the judgement which he said was erroneous, dangerous and misleading. Hearing comes on Monday and Tuesday.
Angolan soldiers who fled to Zambia are repatriated (Sapa-AFP, Lusaka, 25/10) - Some 90 Angolan soldiers who fled their country into Zambia last week will soon be repatriated, Zambia Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa said on Wednesday. He said the Zambian government was arranging transport to repatriate soldiers willing to go home. "We are making all necessary logistics and we hope the soldiers will be repatriated. We shall do what we ought to here as a government," Muchungwa told AFP. Asked whether the 200 firearms confiscated from the soldiers would be handed back, Machungwa declined to reply for "security reasons". Meantime Zambian Defence Minister Chitalu Sampa told AFP on Wednesday that the security situation in Zambia's northwestern province has improved after more troops were sent to the area. Supected National Union for Total Independence of Angola (Unita) rebels have terrorised Zambians living in districts near the border with Angola. "We have beefed up security in the area and l hope we shall not experience any more banditry attacks," Sampa said.
Angolan soldiers flee to Zambia (Sapa-AFP, Lusaka, 23/10) - At least 90 Angolan soldiers have fled into Zambia from rebel-held areas of Angola and surrendered themselves to Zambian authorities, a senior police official said Monday.The soldiers were among a group of about 1,200 civilians who fled ongoing fighting in Angola and entered Zambia through the Western province town of Kalabo, the police official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We have so far recovered 204 firearms from the soldiers and som explosives. The firearms were all AK 47 assault rifles," the official said. The Angolan soldiers were expected to be repatriated, he said. An official at the Angolan embassy confirmed that soldiers had fled into Zambia, but could not provide details. But a secunty source in Western province, who is part of the team screening the soldiers, said so far 98 soldiers had been identified, including 42 people who were part of a military police force. Zambian police spokesman Lemmy Kajoba confirmed that Angolan soldiers had entered the country, but referred questions to Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa, who was out of town on Monday. The Zambian government has not commented on the incident. Zambia currently shelters more than 220,000 refugees, mostly from war-torn Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Zambia denies assisting Angolan rebels (Irin, Johannesburg, 23/10) - Zambia has denied Angolan allegations that it is harbouring senior UNITA rebel commanders and warned that it would not allow Angolan troops the right of hot pursuit into Zambian territory. Zambian Defence Minister Chitalu Sampa reiterated the governments position that it did not want to get entangled in the conflict and said the authorities were only sheltering legitimate refugees, the Zambia Daily Mail reported on Monday. His comments followed a statement last week by Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos that his government "will not tolerate that Zambian territory is used for hostile actions against Angola. The government daily Jornal de Angola on Friday cited a senior military commander as saying that the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) could invoke the right of hot pursuit in response to any UNITA attacks from Zambia. Tensions rise Angola has made persistent allegations - repeatedly denied by Lusaka - that senior Zambian officials have profited from supplying UNITA, which has had a longstanding presence along the Zambian border. The latest accusations, and media reports that a FAA build-up is underway at Lumbala, about 50 km from the frontier, have further stoked tensions. Since September, close to 10,000 Angolan refugees have crossed into Zambias northwestern region to escape a government offensive in the eastern province of Moxico. At the weekend, a further 820 refugees arrived in western Zambia after fleeing fighting in the southeastern Cuando Cubango province.
From among the influx, 264 former UNITA combatants have been identified and separated from the civilians and held in Solwezi for eventual transfer to a new camp in eastern Zambia. Humanitarian sources told IRIN that despite Angolan allegations that UNITA commanders were among the refugees, nobody more senior than the rank of colonel has crossed into Zambia. Angolan officials want access the flood of new Angolan refugee arrivals has provoked a scramble for Zambian visas among politicians in Luanda. Both the ruling MPLA party and the opposition faction, UNITA-Renovada, are keen to reach the refugees who are perceived as supporters of Jonas Savimbis rebel group. "We must go there and approach our members," explained Jorge Martins da Cruz, information secretary for UNJTA-Renovada. "They are our colleagues. They need us close. We need to know what they intend to do." Da Cruz said party members plan to travel to Zambia when faction leader, Eugenio Manuvakola, returns from a European tour. He added that it was only natural that UNITA-Renovada visit the camps because the refugees "are UNITA sympathisers". Meanwhile, a group of four MPLA politicians travelled to Lusaka this month with a view to visiting some of the refugee camps. But according to the government, the team came home "empty-handed". Antonio Vaz Conselos, speaking on state radio last week, said he and the team were "impeded" from visiting the camps by the Zambian government and UNHCR - a charge denied by the refugee agency. The failure of the visit has helped fuel the speculation in Luanda that Zambia is hiding UNITA officials. The rumours have been fuelled by a report last week by the respected independent Catholic station in Luanda, Radio Ecclesia, which claimed to have received information from Angolan army officials concerning the capture of a senior UNITA general. Kamaluta Numa and Jonas Savimbis close female friend, Sandra, were reportedly being held in Catumbela military base, 500 km south of Luanda. UNITA denials Radio Ecclesia and more recently, the independent journal, Agora, also reported that UNJTAs secretary general, Paulo Lukamba Gato, and vice-president, Antonio Dembo, had fled to Zambia as a result of the fighting in Moxico. The reports said that a FAA delegation was in Zambia negotiating the release of these two men. However, the Zambian embassy in Luanda denied this. UNITA members loyal to Jonas Savimbi also said the reports are false. One source described the allegations as "an act of provocation" designed to destabilise the rebel movement. "The MPLA has totally lost trace of the UNITA leadership and now is looking for ways to know where to find them," said another UNITA member. However, a diplomat in Luanda said he understood that some UNITA officials have fled to Zambia, although "they might not be as senior as the government claims To add to the confusion, on Wednesday Zambian Minister of Commerce William Ha~ngton visited Luanda. The minister told reporters his trip was merely aimed at developing bilateral relations with Angola. He brought with him a message from President Frederick Chiluba for Angolas head of state, the contents of which have not been revealed. "My visit has nothing to do with the question of refugees leaving Angola for Zambia," said Harrington.
More Angolan refugees overload refugee camps (Business Day, Mongu, 22/10) - Zambia is planning to create a special camp for combatants fleeing renewed fighting in neighbouring Angola, a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official said. Suspected rebels from the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) engaged in the civil war in neighbouring Angola crossed into Zambia with more than 7000 Angolan refugees. The combatants were disarmed and isolated from the civilians, said the UNHCR acting officer for western Mongu district, Sylvester Briggs. "They are being taken to Lusaka where we are trying to set up a special camp for them," Briggs said. He could not give details on when the camp would be established and whether it would accommodate both Angolan government soldiers and Unita rebels. In the meantime about 114 refugees are stranded at the border in the western province after they fled Angolas Kwandu Kubangu province due to fresh fighting. They are temporarily sheltered at a school in the western province town of Simjembela a few metres from the border with Angola, according to Zambian Foreign Minister Keli Walubita. Walubita said the UNHCR and Care International were planning to move the refugees to a safer place next week. So far there are more than 11000 Angolan refugees at Nangweshi Camp, about 200km away from the Zambias western border with Angola. UNHCR officials in Mongu said that the number of Angolans entering Zambia was expected to increase due to the recently launched offensive by government forces on Unita targets.
UNITA rebels accomodated in camp at Ukwimi (Pana, Lusaka, 20/10) - A total of 264 UNITA rebels have entered Zambia after escaping an offensive launched by Angolan government troops, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.It said in a statement Thursday night in Lusaka that the rebels had cross ed the common border in recent weeks. The UNITA rebels join 28 former Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers who abandoned the fight against rebels seeking to overthrow President Laurent-Desire Kabila. A camp has been established to accommodate them at Ukwimi, Zambias easter n province district of Petauke. UNHCR acting resident representative Martin Bucumi said Ukwimi, which once hosted thousands of Mozambican refugees during the civil war in that country, had been selected to ensure the ex-combatants did not return to their countries to rejoin the war. He added that most of the former soldiers were suffering from malaria and respiratory problems, and the agency was currently assisting them like any other asylum seekers. Family members of the run-away combatants will be kept at a separate camp on the same site, he explained. He said the camp is situated a long distance from the Angolan and Congo bo rders so as to prevent the former combatants from rejoining the fighting in their respective countries. UNHCR and Zambian government officials will screen the former fighters to determine whether they deserved to be given refugee status. "An assessment mission composed of UNHCR and government would be undertake n this week to the proposed site for the transfer of the ex-combatants," Bucumu said.
Abducted Zambians rescued in cross-border raid (Times of Zambia, Lusaka, 18/10) - A crack army unit at the weekend raided an Angolan rebels camp and rescued five Zambians who were abducted by the bandits following a fierce exchange of gun-fire.The soldiers who pursued the mn-away bandits who were on Zambian soil also recovered 79 heads of cattle, stolen from villagers in Chavuma. Defence Minister Chitalu Sampa confirmed the rescue of the Zambians, all men and the recovery of the cattle in an interview in Lusaka yesterday. The army raid occurred at a place known as Nyatanda on the west bank of the Zambezi River. "The soldiers were on patrol when they noticed a camp. They raided it and in the process exchanged gun-fire with the Angolan bandits. This incident took place on Saturday," Mr. Sampa said. The soldiers also recovered a magazine for an AK 47 rifle and 30 rounds of ammunition. The rebels fled into the vast Angolan bush. One combat gear and a cap were also left behind. Mr. Sampa said the five men were abducted from Likoma village where the cattle were stolen from. The villagers that were rescued are Moses Kamba, Kennedy Luneta, Kayombo Mukwata, Kapale Njapau and Somioni Manjimela. "I should say that since we deployed soldiers to monitor illegal entry by people hell-bent on criminal activities, calm has returned to the long stretch of our border with Angola in the North-Western and Western provinces. However, there have been isolated incidents like the one that happened on Saturday," he said. Soldiers have been detailed to secure the borders and protect Zambians. The minister was happy they were living up to the expectations of their tour of duty. Mr. Sampa said: "I want to encourage our people to report any suspicious looking people to the security men. Our troops have remained vigilant and villagers should also remain so. "The Government, through our soldiers, will not allow criminal activities on our soil. The villagers must interact with the soldiers so they can build confidence among themselves." There have been intermittent incursions into Zambia by Angolan armed men suspected to be gangsters of the rebel Unita movement and the MPLA government forces. Several villagers have recently fled their homes while others have lost property, especially livestock through raids such as the one foiled on Saturday. Government has responded with the deployment of troops. Mr. Sampa and his Home Affairs counterpart Peter Machungwa will soon be touring border areas for on the spot checks.
Investors accused of exploiting Zambian workers (Zambia Daily Mail, 16/10) - Government has fired a broadside at some investors exploiting Zambian workers and warned that those perpetuating labour injustices would be deported. Defence Minister Chitalu Sampa regretted that some investors were only obsessed with love for money and profit making at the expense of the welfare of their workers in particular and local people in general. Speaking at this year s Kailala traditional ceremony of the Goba people in Chieftainess Chiawa s area in Kafue, Mr Sampa said some investors whose activities were inimical to the interests of the local population, would be flushed out of the country, through the fastest route. "This is not an appeal but a warning to all investors who love money and not the people. We will show them the fastest route out of the country," said Mr Sampa. Mr Sampa made the remarks after complaints raised by chairperson of the Kailala cultural association Alex Mpande, that some investors in Chiawa were aloof and did not plough some of their money into community development as was expected of them. "Some of the investors in Chiawa came with the policy of non-cooperation with local subjects. They did not assist in time of drought or floods," said Mr Mpande. Mr Mpande, however, singled out Masstock, Jerry Cabin and Lower Zambezi as exceptional investors who were genuinely committed to the improvement of the welfare of the local community. And in his speech, Mr Sampa reiterated governments call for retirees, retrenchees and the unemployed youth along the line of rail, to voluntarily go back to their villages to till the land if poverty was to be defeated. He said government would provide food for those would settle on the land until the first harvesting season. He urged interested parties to register with the office of the district administrator, community development and social welfare officers indicating the chiefs areas of their choice. Mr Sampa, flanked by Lusaka Province Minister Sonny Mulenga, permanent secretary Nelson Magoro and district administrator Michael Bwalya, challenged Zambians to work hard saying development would not come on its own. He said cooperating partners would only supplement Zambia s efforts.
Police blame refugees for crime wave (Zambia Daily Mail, 16/10) - Police in Lusaka say refugees trekking into the country are a serious threat to Zambias security and are abrogating police efforts in reducing the crime wave in the country. Police service spokesman Lemmy Kajoba told the press at Service Headquarters yesterday that refugees were thwarting police efforts to combat escalating crime levels. Mr Kajoba said police would now take corrective measures that would include working in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to confine the refugees currently on the streets. He said through check-points police have retrieved several fire arms from the refugees and cautioned residents against security laxity because the asylum seekers had proved to be a serious risk. Mr Kajoba noted that most refugees were not confined which had made efforts to reduce crime levels difficult. He, however, noted that other categories of crime had drastically reduced in the past three months but that police would not relent in combating high crime levels through police check points and other networks. Mr Kajoba called on residents to work with police so that refugees do not make Zambia a haven of crime. And unarmed thugs hired a taxi in Chelston on Saturday and beat the driver up to grab the motor vehicle he was driving. Mr kajoba said the thugs, after a short drive, stopped and beat the driver identified as William Mulenga whom they threw on the road and sped off with his motor vehicle. No arrests yet have been made but investigations are underway. Meanwhile, Makeni Neighbourhood Watch Association chairman Dante Saunders has called on Matero, Lilanda and George residents to form strong neighbourhood associations to combat escalating crime in the area. Mr Saunders called on Matero member of parliament Samuel Miyanda to spearhead fundraising campaigns in the constituency so that the community can help police to combat crime instead of leaving everything to government. "Members of parliament should be seen to be taking the leading role in the combating of crime in their constituencies," he said.
Minister of Home Affairs calls for clamp down on 'illegal immigrants' (Times of Zambia, Lusaka, 14/10) - Minister of Home Affairs Peter Machungwa has told the immigration department to clamp down on all illegal immigrants who are currently perpetrating crime in Zambia. Dr Machungwa said as part of the law enforcement personnel in the country, immigration officers were expected to help rid the country of prohibited immigrants and other aliens who were engaged in vices that destroyed the country's economy. At the graduation ceremony of immigration officers at the Lilayi Police Training College, Dr Machungwa said undesirable immigrants had tampered with Zambia's economic wealth through smuggling of precious stones and semi-precious stones and had of late turned Zambia into a drugs narcotics transit centre. "Some so called investors have engaged criminals to steal communication and powerline transmission cables as well as copper cathodes which they then export as scrap. These are people who must be flushed out all costs," he said. He called on the officers to be disciplined and handle members of the travelling public with courtesy and to ensure undesirable elements were barred from entering Zambia. Dr Machungwa said he was aware of the difficulties under which the department was operating but promised to provide necessary logistical support. Despite the constraints, officers were expected to maintain the highest standard of discipline, efficiency and integrity. Speaking at the same function, acting chief immigration officer Silvester Mulila described the department as one of the major non tax revenue contributors to the treasury. He said there was potential to collect more revenue if receipts and safes were provided for in the custody of revenue.
President courts Chinese investors (Zambia Daily Mail, Qingdao, China, 13/10) - President Chiluba has appealed to Chinese businessmen to invest in Zambia because the country now has an environment in which business can flourish. Dr Chiluba said Zambias political stability and improved macro- economic set up made it a compelling investment destination. The president was speaking before being taken on a conducted tour of Quigdao Textile Corporation yesterday. Dr Chiluba noted that after Zambia liberalised her economy in 1991, Chinese businessmen started investing in the country. He however, said he was making a further invitation to Chinese investors because Zambia wanted to forge strategic partnership with leading global players. He acknowledged Chinas growing stature as an influential icon on the international economic scene. Dr Chiluba said China, a hither to economic nonentity, could now compete favourably with other countries the world over. "Such impressive economic credentials leave Zambia with no choice but to seek a fruitful partnership with China," Dr Chiluba said. By dealing with rapidly industrialising countries such as China, Dr Chiluba said Zambia stood to gain. In this regard, Dr Chiluba made a passionate appeal to Chinese businessmen to invest heavily in the Zambian economy. He noted that although Chinese investors had already penetrated sectors such as mining and textile, there was need for investment in other fields such as the hotel and tourism industry. Making an investment case for Zambia, Dr Chiluba said the country did not only have a conducive economic and political environment, but also tangible assets such as hospitable citizens. Dr Chiluba was hopeful that Qingdao Textile Corporations part shareholding of Mulungushi Textile in Kabwe would benefit the firm And Qingdao Textile Corporation general manager Weng Lei, said his company was honoured to receive Dr Chiluba and his delegation.Dr Chiluba was later presented with a duvet set specifically made for him. Dr Chiluba later left Qingdao for Zhangjiajie to continue his tour of provincial centres.In another development, a leading household appliance manufacturer in China says it has plans to set up a plant in Zambia. Chief executive officer of Haier Group Zhang Ruimin, told President Chiluba that his firm was considering to set up a base in Zambia. Mr Zhang was speaking after taking Dr Chiluba on a conducted tour of the Haier groups industrial park in Qingdao.Mr Zhang told President Chiluba that plans to start operations in Zambia were definitely on.
Dr Chiluba said he was impressed with the state of the art technology Haier used to produce high quality goods. The President encouraged Haier to quickly come to Zambia, saying doing so would give the company a market not only in Zambia but in the whole COMESA region.Dr Chiluba said the visit to Haier would dispel notions in some quarters about inferior production techniques and poor quality goods in Chinese manufacturers.The Haier group was only established in 1985 but already has plants in America, Europe and other parts of Asia.The company makes refridgerators, television sets, mobile phones, cookers, computers and several other appliances.During the first five months of this year, it had a turnover of US$12 a million.Meanwhile, Dr Chiluba last night arrived in Zhangjage Hunan province to continue his series of provincial tours.Dr Chiluba was met at Zhangjieje Airport by the mayor Lu Pingyi and provincial leaders. Mr Lu will this evening host a reception for Dr Chiluba and his delegation Dr Chiluba will be in Zhangjiaje until Sunday when he flies to Guilin.In Lusaka, Sanday Chongo reports that a three-man delegation from China arrived in the country yesterday to finalise discussions and sign the contract for the provision and installation of FM broadcast transmitters in Zambia. The team from China Radio and Television Corporation for International TechinoEconomic Co-poration led by their vice-president Du Yiping, was welcomed at the Lusaka International Airport by Information and Broadcasting Ministry Permanent Secretary Susan Sikanet.
Government sends more security personnel to police Angolan border (Times of Zambia, 13/10) - Government has sent more security personnel to Solwezi and the border areas in North-Western Province to enhance security, Home Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa said yesterday. Dr Machungwa and his defence counterpart Chitalu Sampa will visit several trouble-spots where villagers had been attacked by bandits suspected to be from some neighbouring countries for on the spot checks that will be followed by improved security for villagers. 'We have sent more security men to the area (Solwezi) after the killing of a Catholic nun,' Dr Machungwa said at a Press briefing in Lusaka. He said the war in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo had created security problems for Zambia. The Government would ensure the citizens were protected from foreign insurgents hell-bent to destabilise the peace enjoyed. 'The war in Angola has spill over effects. We shall remain neutral and not allow either Unita rebels or anyone else to use our territory,' Dr Machungwa said in reaction to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan who earlier in the day told the international media that the war in Angola would destabilise peace and security in Namibia and Zambia. The MPLA government of Eduardo dos Santos had been having a serious onslaught on Unita. Zambia would encourage peace efforts in the region to ensure regional stability and security. .Dr Machungwa has welcomed the election of the new Litunga, paramount chief of the Lozi people Lubosi Imwiko. He succeeds Ilute Yeta who died early this year. Government would work with all traditional leaders and respect the choice of the people.
Greek deported for making pornographic videos (Zambia Daily Mail, 13/10) - Government has deported a Ndola-based Greek Cypriot Marios Constantinou for allegedly forcing young Zambian school girls to have sex with dogs and making video tapes of the acts. Homes Affairs Minister Peter Machungwa, announced in Lusaka yesterday that Constantinou, an employee of a named farm had been deported to Cyprus, his country of origin. Constantinou had been prosecuted and convicted by the Ndola magistrate court for the offence and was fined K2.8 million. Dr Machungwa said as minister, he had considered Constantinous acts as inhuman and degrading to the people of Zambia, particularly women. He said such activities were deemed inimical to public interest, adding that the likes of Constantinou were "undesirable elements who should be locked up and the keys thrown away." "I have therefore, deported him to his country by invoking my powers under section 26(2) of CAP 123, the Immigration and Deportation Act of the Laws of Zambia. "As I am talking he is on his way from Zambia after putting him on a 13:30 hours flight," he said. The minister indicated that he would not hesitate to remove from the country elements who abused the hospitality of the Zambian people and break the laws with impunity. Dr Machungwa pointed out that he had a duty as Home Affairs Minister to ensure that the people of Zambia were protected. Sources in Ndola said Constatinou was whisked away from his house in the earls, hours of yesterday by a combined team of Immigration and other security wings. The minister has also warned the traveling public, particularly motorists that there has been a spillage of diesel on the road between Kabwe and Lusaka. This covers the distance from near Mulungushi Motel in Kabwe to a point 15 Km from Lusaka. Dr Machungwa said the Lusaka-bound lane had a spillage which was quite heavy in some areas, adding that the road was extremely slippery and dangerous in many areas. He said this had forced road users to use only one lane, the Kabwe-bound lane, but indicated that the minister of Works and Supply had been making on the spot checks and corrective measures put in place. Dr Machungwa said investigations as to how the spillage occurred over such a long distance and who was responsible had been instituted. He appealed to motorists to drive on the said road with extreme caution until the problem was sorted out. Meanwhile, Dr Machungwa has reiterated governments position that it would not allow anyone using the Zambian territory for war. The minister was commenting on sentiments by Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos who was reported to have said that he would not allow UNITA to use the Zambian territory to launch its offensives. Dr Machungwa said Zambia supported efforts aimed at peace in Angola, the United Nations (UN) sanctions on UNITA and that no person or group would be allowed to use the Zambian soil for purposes of war. The minister also agreed with the UN secretary-generals sentiments that war in Angola had an adverse effect on the neighbouring countries, saying: "We all must work for peace in Angola." He said there had been incursions on the Zambian borders with people running away from their homes because of war. The minister further indicated that he and his ministry of Defence counterpart would be touring the border areas in a few days time to ensure security was enhanced along border areas.
Conflict in Mwange refugee camp (Pana, Lusaka, 10/10) - Seventeen refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo have fled Mwange camp in Mporokoso, Northern Zambia, following alleged ethnic discrimination mainly targeted at people suspected to have Tutsi origins. The group believed to be members of the Banyamulenge rebel group operating in eastern Congo, where ethnic Tutsis settled over 200 years ago, are accused of being the source of the woes faced by the majority of DRC refugees. State-mn Times of Zambia quoted Malindi Kaima of the government refugee agency Tuesday as saying that the 17, including a baby, were being cared for at a house some 35 miles outside the camp in Mporoko so. "There is this problem in the camp where refugees whose fathers are Congolese and mothers from the ethnic Tutsis found in eastern Congo are viewed as enemies of the Democratic Republic of Congo," Kaima said. The refugees approached the Zambian refugee commission office and the UNHCR asking to be separated from the rest of the over 22,000 refugees, claiming that their lives were in danger. They told officials that life was becoming unbearable among Congolese refugees who fled fighting between rebels and president Laurent Kabilas army in the DRC. "The issue here is that suspected Tutsis, no matter how innocent they could be, are viewed as aggressors. The duty of the government is to protect all the refugees and we have removed them from the camp after they reported their problems to us to ensure their safety," Kaima pointed out. The camp has 21 soldiers who have renounced their military status although authorities believe there could be a few others that have not declared they were combatants before fleeing. Moderate Hutus who are Rwandan ex-soldiers that fled the 1994 genocide were widely believed to be living in the camp as Congolese. Investigations found that ethnic Hutu former soldiers were enlisted as Congolese nationals when they arrived in Kaputa. This was for fear that they would be harassed by fellow refugees if they disclosed their true identity. "The Congolese resent Rwandans because they feel their government has plunged them into misery. We are trying very hard to resolve such problems to ensure harmony is maintained," Kaima said.
Zambia hosts over 230,000 refugees from Angola, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia (Information Dispatch, 05/10) - Since Zambia took the moral and practical step to open its doors to unfortunate victims of colonial rule in 1966, it has remained to be a safe haven for multitudes of refugees from Southern Africa and todate has extended this moral responsibility as far as the Horn of Africa. Following the continuous rage in civil and political upheavals in countries neighboring Zambia, the refugee operation has continued to expand. Today, the country hosts more than 230, 000 refugees, making it the biggest operation in the Southern African Region. The majority of the refugees who seek protection in Zambia originate from countries such as Angola, which has the highest caseload by nationality, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia. Majority of the refugees are provided with large allocations of farming land in the settlements, and to facilitate their self-reliance. According to UNHCR Representative Oluseyi Bajulaye, his organisation organised a successful repatriation of some 70,000 Mozambican refugees in 1995. However, there are new refugee influxes from DRC and Angola. Angolan refugees constitute the largest caseload in Zambia, and have been arriving in successive waves since the early sixties-the most recent of this is the approximate 7,000 refugees who arrived recently. Again since 1997, significant number of refugees from DRC, Rwanda and Burundi have crossed into Zambia, as a result of war and civil strife in their countries, he said. UNHCRs major emphasis of operation in Zambia centers around the promotion of local integration and self-reliance as well as capacity building measures in support of governments responsibility in refugee matters. Bajulaye told journalists during a recent workshop in Lusaka that in Zambia, UNHCR has two refugee settlements and three camps namely: Maheba and Mayukwayukwa Settlements and Mwange, Nangweshi and Kala Camps. He said there are refugees residing in urban areas mainly in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt towns. Current populations are Angolans 180, 000, DRC 40, 000, Burundese 1, 600, Rwandese 4,000. UNHCRs current overall budget is estimated at US$8.5 million. And Zambias HomeAffairs Minister Dr. Peter Machungwa said the economic constraints faced by the Zambian Government and indeed most African States limits their capacity in adequately meeting the needs of refugees. The burden placed by urban refugees on Government resources, cannot be over emphasised, Dr. Machungwa said. He regretted that some sectors of the refugee community were involved in serious crimes and offences saying this is a grave source of concern to the Zambian Government. May I remind the refugee community that they have an obligation, to adhere to the laws of the land, failure to which they will be subjected to the penalties prescribed therein, he warned. Dr. Machungwa appealed to the international community to consider granting more aid to the African refugees in the spirit of burden sharing. He added that this assistance would improve existing infrastructure like roads, schools and clinics, which would in turn have the added advantage of encouraging the refugees to abide by the law and relocate to these designated areas. He reiterated Governments intention to continue upholding her obligations towards refugees, as guided by the international conventions, to which Zambia is party.
Analysis of Zambia's refugee situation (The Financial Gazette, Nangweshi, 05/10) - Sixty-seven-year-old Chief Profihio Andriano of the Umbuntu tribe of Angola first heard the bombs explode in the morning a week or two before Christmas. When the din and the smoke grew thicker, he knew it was time to go. The chief, his wife, their eight children and four grandchildren took to the bush, hundreds of his subjects in tow. Thousands of Angolans now stream into Zambia every day to escape fierce fighting between government forces and rebels of the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNJTA)movement led by Jonas Savimbi. Hundreds also cross into Zambia daily fleeing another brutal civil war in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
DRC military ruler Laurent Kabila, with support from countries such as Zimbabwe, is battling rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda. When a team of international journalists visited Nangweshi Refugee Camp just outside the small Senanga town in Zambias Western Province last Saturday, more than 8 000 Angolans had crossed the border on that day alone. Many of them spoke of the horrors of southern Africas longest civil war. They said they saw whole villages being burnt down and smouldering bodies strewn all over as they crossed into Zambia. They also reported the presence of groups of heavily armed UNJTA rebels fighting from inside Zambian territory. Others said villages on the Zambian side such as Likulishitu near the border town of Sinjembela had been overrun by UNITA and the villagers were either killed or forced to flee. There was no immediate confirmation from the Zambian authorities. "I had to abandon my car after it ran out of petrol and walked to the border for days," said 44-year-old mother of four Helena Kandombwa. Kandombwa, from Angolas capital Luanda, said she had gone to a province on the border with Zambia called Cuanda-Cubango when the war caught up with her.
The Angolan Red Cross official said her mission to Cuanda-Cubango was to trace relatives of people is placed by the war. When the bombs started dropping, she fled towards Zambia, abandoning her four children in Luanda.She drove straight to the Zambian border but was forced to abandon the car after only 20 km when it ran out of fuel. She completed the remainder of the 200-km journey on foot in three days. Chief Andriano and 1 000 of his subjects walked for four months to get to Sinjembela. Miraculously, says the elderly chief, the whole group which included abandoned children and the sick, crossed safely into Zambia and were now housed at Nangweshi. Civil wars around Zambias eight borders have resulted in the influx of more than 230 000 refugees into the country - about two-and-a-half percent of the worlds total refugee population of 22,3 million people, says the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
This has brought an enormous strain on the already impoverished state. Judge Lombe Chibesakunda, the chairman of Zambias Permanent Human Rights Commission, told the journalists attending a workshop in Lusaka last week that countries in southern Africa were not sharing the refugee burden equally. "It is lamentable that there is no mechanism of burden and cost sharing in tackling the refugee problem," Chibesakunda said. "Some countries are taking more than they can handle and this has a telling effect on their economies," she said. Zambia carries the bulk of refugees in southern Africa followed by Namibia with 15 000. Countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have very small populations of refugees, according to the UNHCR. UNHCRs southern African epresentative, Oluseyi Bajulaiye, said the UN bodys major emphasis in Zambia was to promote the local integration and self-reliance of the refugees. Programmes started by the UNHCR had become so successful that at one camp the refugees were even exporting some of their produce outside Zambia. "In Zambia, we have two refugee settlements, namely Meheba and Muyukwayukwa, and three camps of Mwange, Nangweshi and Kala," said Bajulaiye. "We also have urban refugees residing mainly in Lusaka and the Copperbelt towns. Most of these urban refugees are well integrated into society as they have means to sustain themselves." Bajulaiye said the Zambian government had a history of warmly welcoming refugees. That history dated back to the days when the country accommodated thousands of Zimbabweans, Mozambicans, Namibians and South Africans escaping repressive regimes in their countries. Zambian President Frederick Chilubas government continued to be just as generous and provided vast tracts of land to settle the refugees and also allowed them to farm. Bajulaiye praised rural Zambian communities whom he said were eager to host refugees. He said most of the rural areas in Zambia had also benefited from development that followed the establishment of a refugee camp. George Okoth-Obbo, the UNHCRs deputy regional director, said the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) had a well-established legal and policy regime to deal with the management of refugees. Qkoth-Obbo singled out Zimbabwe as the country with the most advanced and best legal framework on the treatment of refugees in the world. He said unlike many countries, an asylum seeker in Zimbabwe was given more time to appeal even when an application had been turned down. In many countries, an asylum seeker is deported immediately after his/her application has been turned down. Okoth-Obbo said the Zimbabwean law on refugees was now being used as a model for the whole world. Countries in the region such as Malawi had already copied it. The UN official lamented that civil wars continued to haunt the region. He said wars in southern Africa were displacing people every day and that peace efforts seemed to drag without much to show.
Said Okoth-Obbo: "While the Angolan government has registered significant successes against UNITA since it launched a major offensive in October last year, UNITA has apparently been able to reorganise itself for a guerrilla campaign." It is that UNITA campaign that Chief Andriano said had forced him and thousands of other Angolan villagers to flee their homes and seek sanctuary in neighbouring countries. Eric Nawa, a Zambian Red Cross official working with refugees at Nangweshi, said he was disturbed by the news that the UNITA guerrilla campaign was gaining momentum. Nawa, who has brought his family from his home village to stay with him near the camp, was worried that although Nangweshi was 180 km away from the border, the rebels could easily sneak into the camp and murder every everyone. He pointed at the small camp of Zambian soldiers guarding Nangweshi: "What can they do?" At Nangweshi, one official told the Financial Gazette that it was possible that some of the refugees could even be UNJTA rebels in disguise. Local Member of Parliament and Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Kelly Walubita, who visited the camp with the journalists, though said the province was safe. He brushed off the fears of an attack by UNITA. Nangweshi is about 180 km from the Zambian border town of Sinjembela but many of its inmates told this newspaper that its location was too near the war front and could be an easy target for UNITA. Chief Andriano, a quiet and dignified man, said his only wish was that Zambians continued to be generous and that the camp remained safe. His hope was that one day - when peace returns to Angola -he would lead all his people back to their village. "We had to run away because we had no choice. When the bullets come, they dont choose whether you support UNJTA or not," Chief Andriano said outside his plastic-roofed house.
Tension escalates along border with Angola (African Eye News Service, Lusaka, 01/10) - Self-preservation is forcing Zambia to play a reluctant but growing role in Angola's protracted civil war. Repeated attacks on the country by both Angolan government and Unita (Union for the Total Independence of Angola) troops have forced the Zambian defence force to take up arms to stave off the incursions. Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, who brokered year-long talks to end Angola's civil war in 1994, hinted recently that repeated attacks on Zambian villages bordering Angola could move him to retaliate. "We cannot stand by as our people are being robbed of their livestock, women raped, and a general atmosphere of instability is created," Chiluba told reporters. "It is not our policy to countenance war. But our peaceful disposition should not be taken for granted, or seen as a lack of will to respond. Those who provoke us must be warned that we can hit back," he added. According to UNICEF, repeated rebel raids on Zambian villages along the 1 200-km border with Angola have led to the displacement of some 10 000 people over the past few years. "Some villagers are going back, though the situation is still tense on the border side," said UNICEF programme officer Kiyoshi Nakamitsu. The most recent incursion, last week, saw Zambian soldiers pursuing, but failing to catch, a group of Angolan rebels who crossed into the country to raid villages in the north-western district of Chavuma. "Our alert soldiers chased the suspects and managed to recover about 100 head of cattle. Unfortunately, they did not arrest any of the suspects," defence minister Chitalu Sampa said. The past few months have seen a rise in clashes between Zambian and Angolan government troops around the border. Sampa said two Zambian soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Angolan troops over territorial differences in April. Angolan troops also dropped four bombs on Zambian soil over the past four months.
Earlier this year, Lusaka accused the Angolan government of carrying out attacks on Zambian soldiers inside Zambia, killing one soldier. Angola admitted the attack but said Zambian soldiers had entered Angolan territory. Relations between the two countries have been strained since Angola accused Zambia of allowing arms shipments to Unita through its territory two years ago. Zambia denied supporting Unita, and its defence analysts accused Angola of being hostile because the Chiluba government had refused it permission to launch attacks on Unita from Zambian soil. As relations between the two neighbours deteriorated last year, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) asked Swaziland to broker bridge-building talks between the two neighbours. But relations between Zambia and Angola remain less than cordial. Zambia is slowly sliding into armed involvement with Angola, but droves of war-weary Angolans continue to cross the border in search of asylum. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), up to 100 Angolan asylum seekers cross into Zambia each day. The influx of refugees has compelled UNHCR to expand Maheba, the country's largest refugee camp in the north-western province of Solwezi, which already accommodates some 30 000 Angolans. Angola's devastating civil war has been fought almost non-stop since the country's independence from Portugal in 1975. It has persisted in spite of a number of peace pacts reached over the years. The most recent, the Lusaka Protocol, collapsed soon after it was signed in 1994.
This page was last updated on 22 December 2000.