The Namibian Society for Human Rights (NHSR) have raised very serious allegations against the Republican President and the State of Zambia regarding atrocities allegely committed against Namibian freedom fighters who had disappeared without a trace to date on Zambian soil between 1976 and 1978. Without an independent international inquiry, it is difficult to see how any of these extremely serious charges - denied by the President but given credibility by others - can be fully verified. These charges are briefly summarised below :
1. As Zambia’s Foreign Minister, President Banda in 1974 supervised the triumvirate secret wheeling and dealing among apartheid SA, Zambia and British conglomerate Lonrho, which resulted in the Détente Scenario. The Détente Scenario which culminated in the so-called Train Summit between then Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda and then apartheid South African Prime Minster John B Vorster. The controversial summit took place in a train coach straddling the Zambian-Rhodesian border at Victoria Falls on August 25-26 1975. The strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist President Kaunda, who was once described by apartheid SA leaders as “the voice of reason”, also met with SA’s President P W Botha, Vorster’s successor, on April 30 1982 on the Botswana border. The two leaders discussed the political situation in Namibia and South Africa.
2. On October 8 1974, when the well documented Détente Scenario was hatched, General “Lang” Hendrik van den Bergh, apartheid SA’s intelligence chief, flew to the Zambian capital, Lusaka, where he held secret talks at President Kaunda’s State House with Foreign Minister Rupiah Banda as well as with Kaunda’s intelligence head, Mark Chona. Dr. Marquad de Villiers, a South African, represented British business magnate Tiny Roland of Lonrho at the secret machinations aimed at installing neo-colonialist regimes in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Namibia.
3. As part of the Détente Scenario, SWAPO’s armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN)--like Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) forces in Rhodesia--had to be disarmed and be barred from using Zambia as a springboard to attack SA forces in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. During September 1975 Zambian Minister of State for Defense General Kingsley Chinkuli formally ordered PLAN fighters to cease all military activities on Zambian soil.
4. Not surprisingly, on October 14 1975, Task Force Zulu, a unit of the South African Defense Force (SADF), using part of Zambian soil, invaded Angola to fight against MPLA and Cuban forces in that country, in accordance with a CIA-MI6 Cold War strategy. The SADF invaded Angola with full acquiescence if not express approval of President Kaunda and then Foreign Minister Rupiah Banda.
5. In April 1976 Namibia’s PLAN fighters in southwestern Zambia were violently disarmed by Zambian troops, under the command of Major Martin Mulopa. On or around April 23 1976, between 40 and 60 “radical” PLAN commanders were driven to Lusaka by Mulopa’s forces and thereafter to a prison camp at Mwinilunga, some 600 kilometers northwest of Lusaka. They were later transferred from there to the notorious Mboroma concentration camp near Kabwe, where between 1 6 00 and 1 800 of their comrades were being held by Zambian forces. Here on August 5 1976 Zambian forces massacred four (4) Namibian freedom fighters and wounded more than 10 others. Those killed were John Kadhila, Jerry Mwiiyale, Abner Nangolo and John Kanyemba, who died later in a Zambian hospital.
6. On July 11 1976, SA forces entered Zambia and attacked a PLAN base at Oshatotwa, in southwestern Zambia, killing 25 (some say 200) freedom fighters in the process.
7. Due to growing international pressure, Zambia was compelled to “release” the Namibian freedom fighters at Mboroma. Between 1400 and 1 600 of the Namibian liberation fighters “accepted” Nujoma’s “offer” for “rehabilitation” and, together with the between 40 and 60 “radical” or “rebel” commanders, they were taken to the SWAPO’s Nyango camp near the western Zambian town of Mongu. The rest, being 200 PLAN combatants opted for the protection of the United Nations refugee agency and were taken to the Meheba refugee settlement in northwestern Zambia.
8. At the Nyango camp those who “accepted” to be “rehabilitated”; including the 40 to 60 commanders started disappearing without a trace individually and or in small groups. Over 800 of their number were taken to Angola where a day after their arrival they died in the SADF attack on Cassinga on May 4 1978.