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CAB026 / Zambia / END TO HOSTAGE SITUATION AT AMESP OFFICE

END TO HOSTAGE SITUATION AT AMESP OFFICE

¶1. (U) Summary: The hostage situation at the AMESP storage facility in Chavuma, Zambia has come to an end. In an overnight assault, all hostiles were eliminated without a single civilian casualty. END SUMMARY.

ASSAULT
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¶2. (S) At around 4:30am yesterday, there was a flash from inside the AMESP building followed by all of the power going off. Two gunshots were fired then six minutes later the hostages exited the building. No hostages were harmed in any way. Upon further inspection by local law enforcement, the dead bodies nine GRA militia members were found inside. The IEDs used to contain the hostages were also found, disarmed and secured.

¶3. (U) Later yesterday morning, officials from ZPS spoke with reporters, giving credit to Zambia’s federal law enforcement for the successful assault. In a public statement by Margaret Williamson, Head of International Operations for AMESP, the company thanked Zambia’s federal authorities for their “swift and effective action”. Authorities continue to hunt for GRA leader Kennedy Mbesuma.

WITNESS STATEMENTS
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¶4. (S) Following the assault on the storage facility, local news reporters obtained several statements from civilians located outside the police perimeter. One woman claimed she saw “some kind of flying device” near the facility prior to the police assault. Another man stated that he saw “several masked soldiers” through one window of the facility. Reporters were unable to confirm either statement by other witnesses.

COMMENT
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