Police in Zambezi District of North-Western Province on Tuesday fought running battles with residents who ran amok destroying properties and setting ablaze a police vehicle after news broke out that a suspect had died in police custody.

And Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Administration Eugene Sibote has confirmed that the protests arose after the death of the suspect, who had been in custody for allegedly being in possession of an illegal firearm.

In a statement, Sibote explained that the residents started protesting after they were made to believe that the suspect died in police custody as a result of torture.

“The situation in Zambezi arose from the death of an individual who was detained at a correctional facility as police were following information regarding suspected possession of an illegal firearm. Arising from the death, members of the public suspected that he could have been subjected to torture leading to his death. The people, thereafter, ran amok and consequently damaged several properties, which include the burning of the Zambezi Police Station Toyota Land Cruiser, among other things,” Sibote narrated.

He stated that police reinforcements had been sent to Zambezi to calm the situation.

“So far, reinforcement has been sent to Zambezi to ensure there is peace in the district and the situation is currently reported calm. The traditional authority in Zambezi has also been engaged over the matter and we have been assured of cooperation pending investigations. A team of police officers and a pathologist will be sent to conduct a postmortem and an inquiry. We, therefore, appeal to the people of Zambezi to remain calm whilst the matter is being addressed,” stated Sibote.