Zambia has rejected allegations by South Africa that Zambia-based guerrillas are planning to invade neighbouring Namibia.
SV ZOOM INTO CU Zambian Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Newted Phiri speaking in English.
PHIRI: "As you know, His Excellency the President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, announced in (INDISTINCT) yesterday that the racist regime south of us, especially the rebels, are preparing to invade Zambia between tomorrow and Friday, in an attempt to disrupt the presidential and general election. I want you to know that this morning, this minister received a message from South Africa alleging the SWAPO forces were concentrating their troops in what they called south west of Zambia, near the border with Namibia. They say the intention of launching an offensive into Namibia so as to disrupt the so-called peaceful and democratic elections in Namibia. South Africa, further, claimed in the cable that there would be serious consequences if the SWAPO continued to concentrate its forces in the area. I want you to know that there is no truth whatsoever in what the South Africans are alleging."
Mr. Phiri also said he had called in the representatives of the United States, Canada, Britain, France and West Germany "to remind them to the grave consequences that could arise" from any South African move against Zambia. South Africa says SWAPO troops are massing near Kazangula close to Zambia's border with Namibia. The cable, made public by Mr. Phiri, also claimed that 36 aircraft were in the area. Zambia's elections are to be held on the twelfth of December.
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Background: Zambia has rejected allegations by South Africa that Zambia-based guerrillas are planning to invade neighbouring Namibia. On Tuesday (5 December) the Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Newted Phiri, told reporters that he had received a cable from the office of South African Prime Minister, Pieter Botha, alleging that guerrillas belonging to the South West Africa People Organisation (SWAPO) were massing in south west Zambia. The South African cable claimed that the SWAPO forces planned to invade Namibia to disrupt the elections being held there. Zambia has already stated that Rhodesia is planning another military strike into its territory. The Rhodesian attack, according to Zambia, was expected between the sixth and ninth of December. The expected Rhodesian attack was referred to by Mr. Phiri at his Lusaka news conference.