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US rejects Zimbabwe’s allegations of military build-up in Zambia

USA

The commander of U.S. Africa Command, General Michael Langley, categorically dismissed assertions made by Zimbabwean officials that the United States was establishing a military base in Zambia and relocating AFRICOM operations from Germany.

Speaking during an online press briefing from Botswana, where he was attending an African Chiefs of Defense Conference, General Langley refuted Zimbabwe’s claims, stating unequivocally, “That’s absolutely false.” He emphasized that the U.S. has no military bases in Zambia and has no intentions of establishing one. Langley underscored the nature of U.S. engagement in Africa as “African-led and U.S.-enabled,” highlighting increased security cooperation with Zambia but clarifying, “There’s no footprint. There’s no posture. There’s no base.”

In response to allegations from Rutendo Matinyarare of the Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement, General Langley denied holding any briefings in Lusaka and reiterated that the U.S. is not setting up an AFRICOM hub in Zambia. Matinyarare had claimed sightings of American military equipment at Zambian airports, prompting questions about their presence.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema also denied assertions of U.S. militarization, explaining that Zambia’s military engages in exchange programs with several nations, including the U.S., which should not be misinterpreted as the establishment of a U.S. military base.

The controversy arose following comments by Zimbabwean President Emerson Mnangagwa during a trip to Russia, alleging U.S. efforts to militarize Zambia to exert influence in the region and isolate Zimbabwe. This geopolitical tension coincides with the history of Western sanctions on Zimbabwean officials, with recent sanctions easing except for a few prominent figures.

General Langley concluded by discussing regional security challenges addressed during the defense conference, emphasizing collaborative efforts with African partners to ensure stability, security, and prosperity on the continent. He described the conference as valuable for exchanging information and preparing for future engagements.

Overall, the statements by General Langley sought to clarify and refute what he termed as baseless allegations, reaffirming the U.S.’s strategic approach in Africa and its commitment to cooperative security initiatives on the continent.

In other news – At least 30 killed in Kenya anti-government protests

Protests erupted in Kenya this week, resulting in at least 30 deaths, sparked by the government’s initiative to significantly raise taxes, reported Human Rights Watch on Saturday.

According to the NGO, Kenyan security forces fired directly into crowds of protesters on June 25, 2024, even targeting those attempting to flee. Read More

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