DEFENCE Minister Ambrose Lufuma has refuted claims that the United States of America is in the process of establishing military bases in Zambia.
In a statement, Monday, Lufuma said the office being created was an office of security cooperation which would be based at the US Embassy in Lusaka and that it would work with the Zambian defence forces to enhance military to military relations, expand areas of cooperation among others.
“It has come to the attention of the ministry of defence that, there is varying information circulating on various social media platforms with respect to the establishment of the United States Security Cooperation office by the government of the United states of America in Zambia. Contrary to the misinformation and disinformation, that the United States of America is in the process of establishing USA bases in Zambia through USA African Command (Africom) which is aimed at endangering lives of Zambians and threatening our national security, I would like to state that the office being created is an office of security cooperation which will be based at the USA Embassy in Lusaka,” he stated.
“This office will work hand in hand with the Zambian defence forces to enhance military to military relations, expand areas of cooperation in force management and modenisation, as well as military professionalism, among other things. Zambia like many other countries within the region and beyond, has had military cooperation with not only the USA, but other cooperating partners across the globe.”
He said Zambia had no intention of establishing or hosting any military bases on Zambian soil.
“The US-Africa command (Africom) being referred to on social media platforms is based in Germany and the Zambian government has not at any given time agreed to move it to Zambia. We have had a longstanding relationship with US-Africom in the areas of peacekeeping that has predated this administration and has benefited our military. Zambia has no intention whatsoever of establishing or hosting any military bases on Zambian soil. Therefore, the Ministry of Defence would like to take this opportunity to warn all perpetrators of such misinformation meant to tarnish our existing cordial relationship with our neighbours and strategic partners, to desist from issuing alarming statements which hinge on the security and territorial integrity of our nation. Anyone who will be found wanting and spreading falsehoods will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the country,” said Lufuma.
“The Zambian media is equally advised to avoid issuing false statements on defence and security matters without consulting the Ministry of Defence. The media is free to seek clarification on such matters from the Ministry of Defence, before engaging the public.”