28 October 1997


Coup plotters temporarily take control of national broadcaster

Incident details


(MISA/IFEX) - Coup plotters in Zambia briefly took control of the
Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) on 28 October
1997. Staff member Margaret Chikwete was taken captive during the
aborted coup attempt. An official, who spoke to MISA, said that
Chikwete was on morning duty when she was forced to operate the
station. The official, who asked for anonymity, said that
although there were no serious casualties, the station was
severely damaged by gun bullets. The station has resumed its
normal broadcasts but is operating with a skeleton staff.

The plotters, led by an officer identifying himself only as
Captain Solo, took over the station in the early hours of 28
October. At 0600 hours, he announced the take-over of President
Frederick Chiluba's government by what he called the National
Redemption Council. Approximately three hours later, President
Chiluba announced that the coup had been crushed and the coup
plotters arrested. Authorities later identified Captain Solo as
being Captain Stephen Lungu. Heavily armed security forces
arrested Lungu, who hid himself in a disused metal container at
the Mass Media Complex, the ZNBC headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Independent Media Association (ZIMA/MISA-
Zambia) reports that the situation in Lusaka city centre is
steadily returning to normal following the announcement that the
coup was crushed.


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