PRESIDENT Michael Sata says there is a clique of people in Western Province recruiting ex-servicemen to distabilise the country.
And President Sata says he will authorise the minister of defence and his commanders to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and warn the warring parties not to distabilise the peace prevailing in Zambia.
During the 15th defence services command and staff college graduation ceremony, President Sata directed that graduating officers be sent to Lukulu district in Western Province to halt illegalities aimed at embarrassing the state.
"I would like to inform you that we have a clique of human beings in Lukulu called the Barotse Liberation Army (BLA). By yesterday (Thursday) they had recruited 275 human beings, they recruited 628 human beings and they have recruited ex-soldiers and ex-police men and ex-poachers. So I would like to ask the commanders to take these newly-trained people and yourselves, take them to Lukulu. We have to be ready because training when you are adopting theories is something else but when there is action, some of these soldiers here, they have never lifted a gun since they joined the army and they have retired. So they don't even know how to stand on parade with a gun because you don't know the velocity of that gun. So take them to Lukulu," President Sata said.
"Mr Chimese (ZAF Commander) provide airplanes and you Mr Chimese I told you before, its high time we sacrificed everything and let's have transport planes. You can't have an air force without transport planes. How am I going to lift these people to go and sort out the people in Lukulu? When you go there don't look at tribe." President Sata said it was the government's desire to see a defence force grounded in professionalism and possesses well rounded balanced knowledge not only in matters of defence and security but in other disciplines. The President said he was determined to equip the defence forces with abilities that would develop in them and capacity to continue developing the nation beyond their ears in defence and security services. He said the army currently appeared irrelevant because of lack of ammunition.
"How can you have an army without ammunitions? You have an army without guns," he said. President Sata said some time politicians become careless and incite people therefore the army should always be ready. "How can you say this country is totalitarian and yet you are using ZNBC? ZNBC is a government project," in apparent reference to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema who was on ZNBC this week attacking government.
"So you people are using taxpayers' money to defend the peace of this country and you have to do it and take Lukulu as an exercise. We don't encourage exercises for obvious reasons but go and exercise in Lukulu." On the instability in the town of Goma in the DRC, President Sata said Zambia would send troops to that country like South Africa had done for peace keeping. But President Sata said the defence and security wings should not trivialise the current peace prevailing in Zambia because Luapula Province and Lake Mweru were porous border areas neighbouring the DRC.
"Comrade minister and your defence commanders, we shall give you authority to go to Congo and meet your counterparts in Congo and when you are listening to them go and warn them that they can play with other people, they cannot play with Zambia. If you people fail to handle them I will go to Matero and bring the youths they will come and sort them out," he said.
President Sata instructed the minister of defence to introduce marine transport saying issues of defence could not wait. He said the defence forces were solely for the purpose of national defence and that Zambia was committed to respecting the principles of non-interference in affairs of other countries. President Sata said Zambia stands ready to support all endeavours that would promote peace and would contribute to troops for peace keeping.
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