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Zimbabwe, Namibia Conduct Airforce Drills as SADC Tackles Lesotho Crisis

Zimbabwe and Namibia on Wednesday conducted joint airforce drills in the border town of Mutare, Manicaland Province, as SADC was tackled the Lesotho crisis.

Zimbabwe and Namibia on Wednesday conducted a joint air drill in Nyanga, Manicaland province, aimed at practicing measures against potential threats to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

But senior Harare military officials were quick to dismiss speculation that the drills had anything to do with tensions in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho where the army is accused of attempting to topple the government.

President Robert Mugabe was in South Africa on Monday for a SADC troika summit on Lesotho in his capacity as SADC chair to try and de-escalate tensions in Maseru.

The SADC troika summit agreed to deploy a full SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security observation mission for a period of three months after which it could be revived to ensure peace and stability within the defense and security establishments.

The troika summit also mandated South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to act as SADC facilitator to Lesotho.

Airforce of Zimbabwe spokesman Squadron Leader Simon Matingwina told VOA Studio 7 that the drills are a continuation of military co-operation between Harare and Windhoek.

He said the two forces can also combine forces in humanitarian disasters such as flooding.

Early this year, the Namibia Defence Force’s -Air Force sent three of its helicopters to Zimbabwe after appeals from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to assist with airlifting marooned families affected by flooding at Tokwe-Murkosi in Masvingo.