Angola + 2 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 7 January

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News and Press Release
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ANGOLA: Troops deploy on Zambian border
Fresh Angolan troops have allegedly deployed along the border with Zambia, and Lusaka has placed its forces on a state of alert, news sources said on Friday.

An AFP despatch, quoting military sources in Luanda, said the Angolan move was a bid to wipe out UNITA rebel positions in the eastern provinces of Moxico and Cuando Cubango. Angolan troops began moving into border villages in November, when Zambia placed its forces on a state of alert due to fears the Angolans could cross the frontier in pursuit of UNITA, news sources told IRIN.

Last year, Zambia rejected an Angolan request to use its territory as a springboard to attack UNITA. Luanda, however, secured agreements from Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the sources said.

UK/US: Travel advisories

Meanwhile, a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advisory on Thursday urged visitors to avoid Zambia's border regions with Angola and the DRC. It said British residents in those areas who consider their presence essential "should remain vigilant."

In a separate development, the United States has "strongly" urged its citizens to avoid all travel to the Okavango and Caprivi regions of northern Namibia due to the "uncertain security situation." A US embassy statement on Friday said the Angolan government's military campaign against UNITA, which has spilled over into Namibia, "may adversely effect the peace and security of the region." It added there were credible reports of Angolan forces shelling UNITA targets from within Namibia.

ZAMBIA: Junior doctors demonstrate

Sacked junior doctors staged a demonstration in Lusaka on Friday demanding their immediate reinstatement and government action to improve medical services, Reuters reported.

The resident doctors were joined by medical students outside Zambia's main referral University Teaching Hospital. Meanwhile, consultant doctors who have taken over the caseload of the junior doctors since the strike began more than two-weeks ago reported that the backlog of surgery cases was growing.

ZIMBABWE: Cuban doctors to arrive

Some 130 Cuban doctors are due to arrive this month to help ease the plight of Zimbabwe's health care services.

News reports quoted health minister Timothy Stamps as saying the doctors would be attached to major hospitals for orientation before deployment to rural hospitals where there is an acute shortage. Stamps, who was in Cuba last month, said an agreement had been signed and all that was awaited was the arrival of the doctors.

[ENDS]

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