Zambia chooses to stay out of DRC conflict

By Times Reporter

ZAMBIA will not send its troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because the defence forces are currently over-stretched with matters of internal security, Defence Minister, George Mpombo, has said.


Mr Mpombo said in Lusaka yesterday that although the United Nations had
not made an official request for Zambia to send peacekeepers to the
DRC, the Government would have to thoroughly analyse the request before
sending any troops there.

 Currently, there are more than 300 Zambian peacekeepers in Sudan,
while a good number are in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Eritrea, a
scenario Mr Mpombo said would require serious consideration before
allowing the peacekeepers to move to the DRC.

 “We will make Zambia’s official position known if an official request
is made, but what should be realised is that we are over-stretched with
our internal security matters and so we cannot send our soldiers to the
DRC,” Mr Mpombo said in an interview.

He said Zambia also had a good number of troops serving on the Southern African Development Community standby brigade.

 He said the nation was left with few troops to look at the internal security situation.

 Mr Mpombo, however, emphasised that security in the DRC was cardinal for Zambia to trade with that country.

 “We need to man our borders, the security of Congo is important but we
are over-stretched and so we need to look at our own security first,”
the minister said.

 Mr Mpombo emphasised that the security of Zambians was important and
the Government would, therefore, ensure the safety of the citizenry.

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