A female Marketeer picking up remains of her merchandise after fire swept through the market
A female Marketeer picking up remains of her merchandise after fire swept through the market

A Charcoal trader has been picked up by police in Ndola in connection with the fire that ravaged Ndola’s Kapalala Market Wednesday morning.

Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga told Journalists in Ndola that the Charcoal trader has been arrested for criminal negligence over the gutting of Kapalala market.

Mrs. Katanga said police have withheld the suspect’s name to protect him from possible lynching from affected shop owners.

She said police investigations have concluded that the fire started after a brazier was left unattended to by the trader after he went to offload charcoal that was being brought to the Market.

“The suspect has been arrested and charged with criminal negligence contrary to section 372 chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia. The suspect was taken to the scene and six witnesses testified and will appear in court tomorrow for the subject offence,” she said.

Mrs. Katanga said the brazier exploded and the fire spread to other wooden makeshifts.

The Provincial Police Commissioner also revealed that 12 people have been arrested for looting while the market was burning.

“12 people were arrested in connection with looting and are detained in police custody, while the goods are recovered,” said Mrs. Katanga.

And the opposition UPND says it is alarmed and saddened about the Kapalala market fire.

“We sympathise with the marketeers and families who have lost their goods and businesses, and most likely their livelihoods in this fire. This tragedy comes just months after the much politicised City Market inferno, which up to now the report from the police service as to what caused the fire has still not been released,” party Spokesman Charles Kakoma said.

“We hope and pray for a thorough and professional investigation into this latest inferno at Masala market and demand the timely release of the cause of fire. We also wish to advise the Patriotic Front government not to politicise this unfortunate, but suspicious tragedy,” he said.

Mr Kakoma has since called upon government to assist the marketeers and their families during this difficult time to alleviate their loss of businesses and suffering.

Man picks the remains of his sewing machine he used to make sofas after fire gutted Kapalala Market in Ndola in the early morning hours of today. Sofas were burnt to ashes Pictures-Humphrey Jupite
Man picks the remains of his sewing machine he used to make sofas after fire gutted Kapalala Market in Ndola in the early morning hours of today. Sofas were burnt to ashes Pictures-Humphrey Jupite

Earlier, Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo has called for thorough investigation to ascertain the cause of fire that engulfed Kapalala market in Ndola last night.

Mr. Kampyongo has described the incident as regrettable noting that the nation had only started enjoying relative calmness.

“It is sad and regrettable when we have enjoyed relative calmness and peace that we have to yet record another disaster in an inferno that has gutted Kapalala market,” Mr Kampyongo said.

He asked police officers to reactivate themselves and remain active to ensure tranquility of the state.

“I appeal to people to remain calm and for our men in uniform it is time to reactivate ourselves and not relax thinking all is well,” Mr Kampyongo said.

He asked for citizens to remain calm and not speculate on the cause of fire allowing for investigations to conclude.

a man points where his makeshift shop used to stand. Picture Humphrey Jupiter Nkonde
a man points where his makeshift shop used to stand. Picture Humphrey Jupiter Nkonde
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38 COMMENTS

  1. Ndola Police are so fast. They have already arrested a culprit? The Lusaka ones are still looking for the Soweto arsonist

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    • Am waiting for mumbi phiri to issue fresh instructions to cousin of uncle kanganje, and just maybe Jonathan will declare Masala state of emergency,

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    • There are no arsonists and that’s a fact no one will ever be convicted for the Lusaka infernos the opportunity was already lost in the political gibberish

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    • These people are not serious. Such a big inferno must have destroyed a lot of evidence, and it would require painstaking effort to forensically find clues. How did this fire spread so quickly?

      I hope investigations run the distance, but please do not scapegoat poor people in the name of keeping the nation calm.

      God bless Zambia. God bless Zambians.

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    • Chinese bought Lusaka City market a week before it was gutted.

      Luburma market has been sold to Chinese.

      ZNBC has been sold to tu ma Chinese

      I bet you this market will be owned by Chinese during reconstruction. Even former tenants will be asked to re-apply.

      PF is an evil party whose deeds will take 27 years to dismantle.

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    • Sanity slowly returning to our politicians in leadership after international counseling.
      For once they have not jumped into conclusions as to who has done it; allowing professionals to perform. If this had happened two months ago before the Commowealth SG was here, we would have those favoured to speak on public media crying wolf and setting half the village folks and police in a chase of perceptions.

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  2. Trees do not provide oxygen only, they play an important role in the ecology system also, ecological imbalance can cause flood, drought and various other natural calamities that can lead to destruction of life from this earth. Therefore it’s important that we save the trees we have in order to maintain ecological balance and we should also plant more and more trees to save the destruction of life from this earth.

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  3. I would be interested to see the police report and how they concluded that this individual may have caused the inferno,or is it a matter of picking another poor innocent citizen? Have they thoroughly investigated and ruled out other possible causes? Is this another hearsay? Zambia ?

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    • @Fault Finder, good Q! We can use this platform to defend this poor citizen. The story doesn’t make any sense at all.

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    • mbaula kupolika? where on this earth? d#kambwili for UPND veep, dont confuse sparks that malasha produce to explosion. Otherwise, we would have had alot of explosions in guard houses

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  4. Good to see the Police slowly getting back to their senses, and beginning to make rational investigations.

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  5. The short girl Katanga is showing up her utterly incompetent useless boss in Lusaka Force H/q…keep up the good work Charity!!

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  6. All our markets are disasters waiting to happen! The trouble is we never teach SAFETY in our schools and we just don’t seem to care about Safety in all walks of life. We have too much “fikaisova” mentality! No foresight! If we continue like this, we’ll always be looking for arsonists that don’t exist. It’s time to privatize these markets for safety reasons!

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  7. Rat teeth people are hungry and hence not in a healthy mental capacity to fully function well without mistakes. Imagine you hungry, problems all around you, it easy to forget to put off a fire before you leave

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    • Very true! Too many mental health issues in Zed that are not being addressed by our unhealthy system, compounded by illiteracy and high poverty levels which fuel each other! Even if we installed fire Extinguishers in these places, how many would be able to competently use them?

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  8. If this Lazy dull thing in State House was truly honest ..he would have created a Commission of Inquiry immediately after that first market fire for recommendations!!

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    • There is usually no follow through after the Commission of Inquiry report, therefore, it would have been equally a waste of money.

      Didn`t ECL say during his press conference that they had got some suspects? Let them bring them to court, otherwise, I doubt they have anything tangible.

      The talk was intended to justify the so called “partial” State of Emergency

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  9. Every public place is a fire hazard in Zambia.

    But again as someone above points out burned markets are being bought by Chinese ??? Is this a delibarete pattern we are seeing ??

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  10. Am sure soon we will be told that the us who has been arrested was dressed in a upnd t shirt…..that’s the evidence???

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  11. NO doubt this is a make up story because their was no market at that place its just some bush we want to see steel columns standing after the fire. This is a way of attracting unnecessary sympathy from international donors, their was no market PLEASE. Even pictures are inconsistent with titles how can a sewing machine be used to make Sofas??

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    • Imwe tata muli tako sana aini? You didnt know that sewing machines are used in the sofa industry? You think babila namatole fipuna ati?

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  12. Ba upnd again r being protects from their arsonism. For fear that the boma might be forced to throw their ka leader in mukobeko for longer this time. Upnd must stop making poor marketeers surfer. Soon boma will embark on a new round of arrests with much longer detentions if the entire upnd, from top to bottom. Careful Ba upnd. Zambians patience has its limits

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  13. Comment:
    Other arson suspects, other than UPND, may include the newly disaffected former PF and current UPND membership-aspirants.

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  14. The councils must take teaching safety to marketeers very seriously. Markets like Chisokone just survive by the grace of God.

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  15. thanks to Ndola police who have done their investigations at a concord speed to cab the situation and avoid speculations. Deserve three notches or promotions. hats off Viva Zambia

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