Two illegal miners of Lufwanyama are nursing bullet wounds at Kitwe Teaching Hospital (KTH) while four have been treated and discharged after allegedly being shot at Chinese-owned Ebenezer Tubombeshe Mine.
Copperbelt Commissioner of Police Charity Katanga confirmed the incident, which happened at about 10:00 hours on Saturday.
Ms Katanga said the shooting took place in an area between Ebenezer Mine and Gemsfields Mine in Chief Lumpuma’s area, where the illegal miners, who were in a group, were scavenging for emeralds.
She said one of the victims, Nsama Bwalya, reported to police that he and five colleagues were shot.
“The shooting incidence occurred on December 23, 2017 at 10:00hours between Ebenezer mine and Gemifield mine in Lufwanyama in which Nsama Bwalya, 27 of house No. 9001, Chimwemwe, reported that he and his 5 friends, Selena, Marvellous, Remmy and others not yet known, were shot at by three Chinese nationals and sustained gunshot wounds on their bodies and head. The six were taken to Kitwe Teaching Hospital and treated. Four were discharged while, Nsama Bwalya and Kauseni Chulu are still admitted to Kitwe Teaching Hospital in Kafue ward, bed 37 and 38 and their conditions are stable,” said Katanga.
“Police have gone to lufwanyama on investigations led by one victim who was discharged. Police are yet to ascertain whether the said Chinese or the victims committed a criminal offence.”
And Copperbelt Provincial Minister Bowman Lusambo expressed shock that the Chinese could use live ammunition to scare away suspected thieves. Mr. Lusambo, who visited the mine in the late afternoon, said it was shocking that the Chinese nationals could use live ammunition.
“Why would you guys use live ammunition? That is the question you should answer when you come to my office tomorrow. So tomorrow I order you to come to my office together with the victims,” Lusambo said.
Ebenezer mine general manager, a Mr Lukas said the shooting happened after the local people cut the wire and entered the mine with the motive to steal.
“The problem is that these guys cut the wire and entered mine. They wanted to steal. So three Chinese nationals with guys fired in the air, but they did not stop. They started to throw stones, catapults. And the Chinese fired down on the rock that is how others were injured,” explained Lukas.