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Kaunda Again Denies Role in Coup

January 14, 1998

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) _ Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda denied in court Tuesday any involvement in a failed coup.

Kaunda repeatedly has insisted that he did not help plan the coup. He said so on the witness stand for the first time Tuesday, during a hearing in a private case brought by his lawyers to force the government to try him or release him.

Kaunda, under house arrest after being detained Dec. 25, has been accused of funding junior military officers who stormed the state radio station on Oct. 28 and claimed to have toppled President Frederick Chiluba.

The revolt was quickly crushed by government troops. Kaunda was out of the country at the time.

``It doesn’t make any sense at all. I deny this. It is utter rubbish,″ Kaunda, 73, told Judge James Mutale in the Lusaka High Court. ``It’s a lie, a blatant lie.″

Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence in 1964 and ruled for 27 years, was ousted from power by Chiluba in Zambia’s first multiparty election in 1991.

Kaunda denied Tuesday he ever met Capt. Steven Lungu, the alleged coup leader.

About 90 suspects, mostly soldiers, have been detained indefinitely under a state of emergency Chiluba declared after the failed coup.

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