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Civilians held hostage by RNU-PF militants in Victoria

Ian Smith

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December 3, 2013


Rhodesian National Union - Popular Front militants have attacked and occupied the headquarter of the Rhodesia-Nyasaland National Bank, killing a clerk and a security guard. Rhodesian Ministry of Interior and State Security Phillip van Heerden said troops had surrounded the building in Victoria (Lusaka), where some 26 people were being held.
Mr van Heerden said the militants wanted to leave Rhodesia-Nyasaland with the hostages, which he would not allow. Earlier, Radio Rhodesia-Nyasaland quoted one worker as saying the militants had demanded the release of 80 RNU-PF prisoners. Another report said they wanted foreign troops to end peacekeeping operations in Rhodesia.
At a news conference on this morning, Mr van Heerden said a heavily armed "terrorist group" using three vehicles stormed into the parking lot of the Rhodesia-Nyasaland National Bank. The attackers were first repelled by the security, but a clerk and a security guard national had been killed, he said. Two other clerks, and two security officers were also hurt in the firefight, he added.
Afterwards, the militants stormed the building and took a number of customers and employees hostages. They were being held in one wing of the building, which the security services and army had now surrounded, Mr van Heerden said.
"Since then, they've been facing off. The Rhodesian Security Forces are consolidating their position around the neighborhood," he added. "It seems [the militants] want to leave the country, to leave the country with the hostages. This is completely unacceptable for the Rhodesian authorities." The minister said nearby border crossings had been closed as a precaution.
Edited by Ian Smith
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