LUSAKA, Zambia — Detained former President Kenneth Kaunda made a brief court appearance Friday and was then flown to a secret destination by military helicopter.
Journalists and lawyers for Kaunda, 73, followed as a police convoy drove the opposition leader from the court to Lusaka's airport, where he was placed on the helicopter.
Lawyers for Kaunda, who was arrested without charge on Thursday under a 28-day detention order, said they had not been told where he was being taken.
Kaunda's family brought a court application for his release, but the state prosecutor applied for and was granted an adjournment until Monday.
"My concern is that this government intends to do him harm, in fact fatal harm," said Wezi Kaunda, the former president's eldest son. "I hold [President Frederick] Chiluba personally responsible for the well-being of my father while in custody."
No reasons were given in court for Kaunda's arrest. But in a briefing to the diplomatic corps broadcast on state television Friday, Foreign Minister Kelli Walubita confirmed widespread suspicions that Kaunda was a suspect in an October coup attempt.
Earlier, about 300 supporters who arrived at the Kamwala holding prison by foot, bus and truck chanted political songs to protest Kaunda's arrest.
Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence in 1964, was defeated by Chiluba at the polls in 1991 and has been barred from running for president again by constitutional amendments.
He returned to Zambia just this week after having left the country some time before junior army officers staged the coup attempt Oct. 28.
In Washington, meanwhile, the White House on Friday condemned the arrest and detention of Kaunda and called for the politician's quick release.