Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga says one person has died in Kasumbalesa and three others are nursing wounds after they were shot at by Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers following a botched mob justice attempt on a suspected thief.
In an interview, Tuesday, Katanga explained that the incident occurred when members of the public wanted to effect mob justice on a suspect that had stolen a wheelbarrow, but that they were stopped by ZNS officers, which incensed the angry mob.
In the ensuing fracas, four people were shot, resulting in one fatality.
“Yes, there was a shooting incident where four members of the public were shot at after irate members of Kawama compound in Kasumbalesa protested and charged against soldiers at the camp. A member of the public had stolen a wheelbarrow and Citizens Crime Prevention Unit (CCPU) officers were taking him to the police so members of the public wanted to make instant justice on the suspect. This is how he was rescued by ZNS at the camp where they kept him. So, members of the public charged at ZNS and in that confusion, four people were shot at and, unfortunately, one suffered excessive bleeding and succumbed to the gun shot wounds. Three are in hospital and the remains of the deceased are in the mortuary, they are all males,” Katanga narrated.
She, however, warned members of Chililabombwe and Kasumbalesa against taking the law into their own hands, saying officers were equal to the task.
“We wish to warn members of the public, especially in Chililabombwe and Kasumbalesa, who want to make out instant justice; it is not long ago, just less than a week, members of Kasumbalesa…someone was stoned to death because of instant mob justice. It is becoming a trend which cannot be tolerated because law enforcement officers are going to respond to that when there is some kind of force, there is no option but to use whatever means available. They should have respect for security agencies, including defense and security, and also respect the rights of citizens. What is coming now is total anarchy where people want to make punishment there and then without recourse to the courts of law, and that is unacceptable!” exclaimed Katanga.
“In less than 10 days, we have had three serious incidences where the mob burnt someone to death on a false alarm. I am glad to mention that an arrest was effected on the woman who caused that. They should know that officers in defense and security are given that power when there is disorder to act appropriately and (are) equal to the force. I want to warn the residents of Chililabombwe to put their house in order as they will face the wrath of law enforcement officers!”