POLICE in Ndola have arrested a charcoal trader for criminal negligence over the gutting of Kapalala market.

Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga told News Diggers! that the suspect’s name would be withheld due to heightened tension among affected shop owners.

Katanga explained that the fire started after a brazier was left unattended to by the trader who went to offload charcoal that was being brought.

“There was a brazier which was left in the makeshifts. In the early hours of today. One office loader had gone to offload some charcoal and left the brazier unattended to which exploded and the fire spread to other wooden makeshifts. Due to the wind the fire spread [quickly],” Katanga said.

“The suspect has been arrested and charged with criminal negligence contrary to section 372 chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia. The suspect was taken to the scene and six witnesses testified and will appear in court tomorrow for the subject offence.”

Meanwhile, Katanga also said that 12 people had been arrested for looting while the market was burning.

“12 people were arrested in connection with looting and are detained in police custody, while the goods are recovered. Let me warn members of the public going to the media and spreading lies and causing alarm. We will not tolerate that. The long arm of the law will visit them. We are not short of laws to ensure that law and order prevails,” said Katanga.