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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 2176

Dr CHARLESWORTH —Is the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware of reports of the South African Government's account of its raid into Zambia on 25 April? Are these accounts regarded as accurate? Has the Australian Government taken any subsequent action following this violation of Zambian territory by foreign military forces?

Mr HAYDEN —The Government is aware of reports of this raid. The violation of the sovereign territory of Zambia is not justified and has been condemned by the Australian Government. The incursion took place on 25 April. Elements of the South African Defence Force were involved. Four Zambian civilians were killed and two were wounded. No African National Council officials or South African refugees were encountered. The South African Defence Force unit used a helicopter and motorbikes for mobility and the attack involved six white SADF members. They attacked the Zambian National Provident Fund Building, killing two watchmen; they shot up a vacant building in which there were no ANC members, indeed, no people at all; they attacked and destroyed a house, killing two Zambians and wounding the wife of one of those people they had murdered. There are reports that the vacant house that they destroyed had been empty for four months and that there had been a prospective buyer.

In carrying out this raid the South African Defence Force violated the sovereign territory of Zambia. The soldiers killed and wounded innocent civilians. It was a major military blunder which was obviously based on untrustworthy intelligence. This is an indication of how shakily based is any assertion made by the South African authorities. It has been labelled as an election stunt by the South African Government and has all the hallmarks of such. The Australian Government extends its sympathy to the Government of Zambia for the way in which its territory has been violated and in particular it extends its sympathy to the bereaved and wounded. The Australian Government formally condemns this raid and any cross-border raid in either direction. It regrets very much that this action sets back any prospects of a negotiated and peaceful settlement.