Zambia puts border security on alert over Zimbabwe elections

Other News Materials 2 April 2008 15:18 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Zambia said Wednesday it had put its security forces along the border with Zimbabwe on alert as the delayed announcement of results from Zimbabwe's elections rattled nerves internationally.

The state of alert was a precautionary measure in case tensions caused by the four-day long wait for the election results erupted into violence and an influx of refugees into Zambia, Defence Minister George Mpombo said.

"I hope our brothers in Zimbabwe will handle the situation without compromising the security of their country," he said. "We pray that the whole issue will be handled peacefully."

The alert related to the border towns of Chirundu, Livingstone, Siavonga and other southern border areas, Mpombo said.

Livingstone tourist resort is just across the border from the Zimbabwean resort of Victoria Falls.

Security operations would continue as normal for the moment in those areas but would be strengthened if the situation escalated in order to protect Zambians living in border areas, he said.

Four days after Zimbabwe's elections, in which President Robert Mugabe is seeking to extend his 28-year grip on power, no official results from the presidential elections have been released.

Partial results from the concomitant parliamentary vote show the opposition with a slight lead in the House of Assembly vote.