ZAMBIA police spokesperson Esther Katongo says the search conducted in Shibuyunji over the weekend should not be misconstrued as persecution because the officers were merely acting on intelligence information.
Speaking during an interview on Hot FM, Katongo said police do not look at relationships with people when moving in to do their searches.
“When they were moving in to conduct the search, it was based on the information which they got. And for your own information, it is not only one search that was conducted that day, we had conducted several searches in three, four areas, in different places. So we were not looking at who is connected to who but we were only looking at what is it we have gotten information on. So if we receive information telling us to say there is such happening at a such a particular place or this is the information…there is something that could be helpful for the police officers in the justice system then we just move in, we don’t look at the relationship of anyone unlike what is being said on social media to say persecution and the like, it is not like that. We follow the intelligence information which we get,” Katongo said.
She added that it was difficult for police to confirm certain things when asked based on relationships with certain individuals.
“You know, when we start linking whoever police officers follow to relatives then it becomes so difficult because when officers move in to conduct their searches or arrest someone we do not look at relationships with people. so even in this case, if you say a police officer was conducting a search in Shibuyunji, yes we can say police officers had conducted a search in Shibuyunji but for you to say an in-law to someone or a brother to someone…what I am saying is that it becomes difficult for us respond if people begin connecting the people that we are investigating or the people that we conducted the search maybe on their premises, it becomes difficult for us to note to say it is this person you are talking about,” Katongo said.
She said initially, she did not have information on the search.
“That is because it was a weekend and I had not gotten information but we did not say that there was no raid, that simply means that I did not have information about the raid. So now, I am telling you that it was not actually a raid, even if I am referring to it as a raid, it was a search,” she clarified.
When asked what was being searched for, Katongo said she could not divulge the information to the public.
“We wouldn’t want to begin divulging everything to members of the public but we are mandated by law…there are procedures to that effect. Where we have suspicions, even at your home, even at my home, if there are suspicions to say that something that would catch the attention of police, if there is anything that would be useful in the justice system, we can move in as police officers orpolice officers can move in, even in my home to go and conduct a search. That’s why we are saying that it is not only in one place where the search was conducted, there are many other areas where the searches were conducted,” said Katongo.
And when asked whether police found what they were searching for, Katongo said she was not priviy to the information.