The Zambian Vice-president, Mr Mainza Chona, told reporters at Nairobi Airport on friday (15 September) that there was misunderstanding about the security alert in Zambia this week in which international flights were suspended and the home guard called out.
SV Aircraft taxis in
CU PAN Kenyan Minister Ngei
SV Zambian Vice-President Chona & officials leave aircraft
SV Party away from 'plane t terminal(2 shots)
GV Zambian aircraft
GU INT. PAN DOWN Kenyan coat of Arms To Chona
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CHONA: "It was just a complete misunderstanding of instructions. The international airlines, or internal commercial airlines or government flights were not supposed to be affected at all. It was only, you know, the private clubs you know and planes owned by private clubs that had been banned.
REPORTER: Can (indistinct) Excellency, to elaborate as to why those private flights were banned?
CHONA: His Excellency, the President, has always for a long time advocated, you know, for the co-operation between the people,the public and the army an police on the other, in fighting crime as well as in preparedness in event of any attack by outside forces. This he has been saying all the time - that it is a desirable thing. So this was just a, this was just a practice for, you know, what His Excellency has been saying. That is to say, exercises of how the public and the police and the army can co-operate in both fighting crime and internal enemies as well as external enemies."
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Background: The Zambian Vice-president, Mr Mainza Chona, told reporters at Nairobi Airport on friday (15 September) that there was misunderstanding about the security alert in Zambia this week in which international flights were suspended and the home guard called out.
He said it was only practice alert.
However on Saturday (16 September), Reuters news agency reported from Lusaka that all international and internal flights had been cancelled again-the second time in three days that civilian air traffic was disrupted by what airline officials called 'military exercises'.
At Nairobi Airport, Mr Chona said the first security alert had been called as part of a plan to gain the peoples' co-operation in fighting crime and in meeting possible external aggression.
He was speaking during a stop-over in Kenya on his way to The People's Republic of China and North Korea.
SYNOPSIS: An explanation for the mysterious security alert in Zambia this week was given by Vice-President Chona at nairobi Airport.
Waiting to greet him on Friday were the Kenyan Housing Minister, mr Paul Ngei, and officials.
Mr Chona made the brief stop-over on his way to visit The People's Republic of China and North Korea. two days earlier, a surprise Government order in zambia had grounded all private aircraft and mobilised the home guard in the capital, Lusaka. Speculation was heightened when all internal flights were cancelled on 'Thursday and an East African Airways airliner turned back at the Zambian border. There was no statement from the Zambian Government until Vice-President Chona landed at Nairobi on Friday.
However, soon after his explanation that the security alert had been misunderstood, reports from Lusaka said internal and international flights had again been cancelled.
Vice-President Chona told a news conference that the alert had been called as a practice and had not been intended to affect commercial flights.