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LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian security forces are on alert as the country watches the situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe where delayed election results have raised concern about violence.

Defence Minister George Mpombo said the situation in Zimbabwe was worrying although he ruled out immediate post-election violence similar to that in Kenya after a December 27 vote.

“So far the situation in Zimbabwe does not present immediate security risks, but our security is on the usual alert at the moment and we are monitoring the situation closely,” Mpombo told Reuters.

He said there was concern that violence could break out after Zimbabwe announced the result of the election.

“The concern is if there is violence there, we would definitely be affected as a neighbour and we hope they will manage the situation properly,” Mpombo said.

Zambia holds the chairmanship of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which the west accuses of being too soft on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa described Zimbabwe as a “sinking Titanic” last year before quickly softening his stance after he faced isolation by other SADC leaders.