Residents of Ntekete in Chief Shaibila’s area in Mkushi district have threatened to fight back investors who are reportedly burning houses and firing gunshots as tactics to evict 4,000 settlers.
Spokesperson for the residents, Felix Bemba told ZANIS that 19 men believed to have been sent by land investors allegedly burnt 19 houses last week leaving the affected families homeless.
Mr. Bemba explained that the 19 men who are believed to have come from outside Mkushi were armed with teargas canisters and two rifles.
He said that this was the second incident in which armed men had come to the area, fired gun shots and teargas in the village before burning some houses.
He said that Residents were hopeful that government would help to address the matter promptly, adding that they did not rule out retaliation if the matter was not attended to.
“ we are 4,000 against few Land Investors, we cannot accept to be treated like this as if we are still in the colonial era”, said Mr Bemba.
And Mkushi District Commissioner Luka Mwamba condemned the action by the land investors saying it was inhuman to burn other people’s property and fire gun shots to intimidate them.
Mr. Mwamba said that it was saddening to learn that the alleged perpetrators of were fellow Zambians, adding that he would pursue the matter with higher authorities.
He said that he had brought on board the interventions of the Permanent Secretary for Central Province as well as the Office of the Vice President.
He assured Ntekete residents that government would not take the matter lightly saying that the land investors had erred by resorting to burning houses and opening teargas on the villagers.
Mr. Mwamba said that although no one was shot or injured in the incident, the investors should dialogue to solve issues and not force.
He expressed solidarity and sympathy for the affected families adding that he was hopeful that the matter would attract intervention from President Michael Sata.
“The tactics used to forcefully evict these residents is very un-Zambian and cannot be tolerated”, he said.