General Khama added that the purchases had nothing to do with a long- standing border dispute with Namibia, which the two countries have taken to the World Court in The Hague. Gaborone - ReuterReuse content
Botswana's army chief defended the purchase of tanks and combat aircraft yesterday, saying the country had a right to decide its military needs for itself. Lieutenant- General Ian Khama made the remarks after criticism from neighbouring Namibia over Botswana's purchase of 13 SF-5 fighter-bombers from Canada and its attempts to buy 50 German-made Leopard tanks and other weaponry from the Netherlands. A Botswana military source who did not want to be identified said the deal with the Dutch was worth about $15m (pounds 10m). Canada has said the aircraft are worth $50m. "We are the ones to say what is and what is not necessary for Botswana," General Khama said. "We were made attractive offers that we could afford."