THE British government says the arrest of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has heightened political tension and increased the risk of civil unrest in Zambia.
And the British government says terrorist attacks in Zambia cannot be ruled out.
In a travel advice posted on its High Commission website, the British government cautioned its nationals to be careful especially in densely populated areas where protests could take place with minimal warning.
Political situation: On 12 April 2017, there were reports the main opposition leader had been charged with treason. This has heightened political tensions and increased the risk of civil unrest. You should exercise caution, particularly in densely populated areas where protests can take place with minimal warning, the British government warned. The alert further added that after the August 2016 elections, the results which ushered in President Edgar Lungu were disputed by the the UPND.
Initial large-scale protests have now subsided; occasionally small gatherings of opposition supporters take place outside the main Courthouse compound in Lusaka. You should exercise caution, avoid any political rallies, demonstrations and monitor local media, the British alert added.
The British government further advised its citizens intending to travel to Zambia to monitor local and international media and keep up to date with its travel advice by subscribing to email alerts. On terrorism, the British government stated that attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
Terrorist attacks in Zambia can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners…there’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack, the British government stated.
And the US embassy website under the State Department stated that spontaneous demonstrations occasionally occurred in Zambia.
“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly turn confrontational and escalate into violence,” stated the US embassy.