2 more killed in Mazabuka riots

TWO youths died March 3 after being shot by police officers in Mazabuka in a riot that followed the death of two other youths in a stampede on March 2.

The stampede was triggered by police officers who threw tear gas canisters into a crowded drinking place where soccer fans were watching a televised English Premiership encounter between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Minister of Home Affairs Mkhondo Lungu confirmed the latest deaths in Lusaka on March 3.

Mr Lungu condemned the use of live bullets to disperse the crowds.

“Government strongly condemns the use of live bullets, and I have ordered the police command to institute investigations into the matter and bring the culprits to book,” he said.

Mr Lungu said the killings happened as a result of unprofessional conduct on the part of police officers sent to quell the unrest. He said police exist to protect the lives of citizens and not to kill them.

“I am saddened by the continued killings of citizens by the police officers who are supposed to protect the lives of our citizens,” he said.

Mazabuka district commissioner Tyson Hamaamba said in an interview on March 3 that the two were found dead in places where a fresh riot had erupted.

He said acts of violence worsened in some parts of the district yesterday where vehicles were smashed.
Mr Hamaamba said rioters blocked the highway from Livingstone.

And Mr Hamaamba said the burial of the first two victims of the unrest, Masautso Nyirenda, 22, and Nasilele Kwalombota, 21, which was scheduled to take place today, will not go ahead as planned.

“We are now planning to have the burial for the four bodies at the same time, but we still need to discuss with the bereaved families,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Hamaamba said the angry mob stoned and damaged facilities at a filling station in the early hours of March 3.

“Pumps were vandalised and windows were broken at the filling station,” he said.

Mr Hamaamba said the police arrived on time to prevent the filling station from being set ablaze.


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