Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Female UNZA student suffocates to death after police fire tear gas into her room


Vespers Shimuzhila

A 4th year student at the University of Zambia Great East road Campus has died due to suffocation in her room during protests by students last evening over unpaid allowances.

Vespers Shimuzhila from the school of Adult education died around 03 hours this morning due to suffocation after Police officers allegedly threw teargas canisters in her room in October Hostels.

It is believed she was asthmatic and could not escape the smoke that had engulfed the October Hostel which she occupied.

Some of her friends who paid tribute to her on social media described her as a loving, caring and brilliant student.

Her death has been confirmed by the UNZA Seventh Day Executive Committee, a Church to which she belonged who have called for calm from the students.

“It is with a sad heart that we announce to you the death of our member, Vespers Shimuzhila, 4th year, school of education, Adult education. She died around 03 today due to suffocation in her room during the protest by students at UNZA great east road main campus,” the statement from the UNZA SDA Executive read.

“We call upon members of UNZA SDA PCM to keep calm as we mourn our beloved sister and continue to seek comfort and counsel from the Lord. We shall keep the general membership posted on the processions via electronic media.”

And Zambia Police spokesperson Esther Katongo confirmed that the student died at the Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital where she was rushed for treatment.

“As officers were keeping vigil around the campus, information was received that parts of October Hostel was on fire and that a fourth-year female student in the School of Education and another who is a second-year student aged 20 years had suffocated and were rushed to the clinic at the Campus and later to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and unfortunately the fourth year student died while the other student is still admitted”. She said.

Mrs. Katongo said students at the University of Zambia yesterday, at about 22:00 hours staged a riot where they blocked the Great East Road and destroyed booths within the area.

She said the cause of the fire is yet to be established and Police officers have continued patrolling the campus and keeping vigil.

Mrs. Katongo added that the situation is currently normal.

UNZA students rioted on Thursday night following failure by government to pay them their student loans since August.

Vespers Shimuzhila


  1. As a former UNZA student and resident of October hostels I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of Verspers. I think it is a cowardly act by police to throw tear gas into a residential building.I remember during my time in the 90s they did the same thing and an asthmatic student had to be rushed to UTH.This incident among others is obviously in police files and they know it is dangerous to throw canisters into buildings.I say they should be charged with murder because this is too much.It’s the monks from the Ruins that protest and the coward police instead come after girls who are busy studying in their rooms and not protesting. #ABASH grade3 police

    • What kind of nonsense is this kanshi? The life of a young promising girl is lost because police are half baked and don’t know how to use teargas. It’s high these people said to answer for their actions. What a pain and waste. Am a parent l know how it feels to lose a child.

    • Imwe na imwe ba Mushota sometimes mulebako serious we’re talking about the life which is confirmed dead and asking such stupid questions. If you have nothing to say please keep quiet or entertain yourself with something else or better do something that means sense.

    • This is police brutality of the worst nightmare! This unacceptable. My thought goes to the family of Vespers. This sorrow is too heavy to handle. Tragically too little to leave us and all because of the unthinkable regime. As the monk of the mid 90’s I say #ABASH political intimidation, ABASH! #ABASH corruption politicians, #ABASH Killing of our students!

    • How tragic.
      Out of a sense of decency, government must institute an investigation to ensure those at fault are held accountable.
      Furthermore, the IG must resign. Nkandu Luo must also for resign. A life has needlessly been lost on their watch

    • Sue the Rioters and expel them. The University needs to have it’s own police force at this point because the lame excuse of a university is harboring criminals!

    • These grants they are rioting over, are they salaries they worked for or they are “loans” which they will have to repay?



    • How do you fire tear gas into a room? Who trains these police? Someone should be held accountable over this. But then again, this is what corruption does. It’s becoming common place for monies meant for certain people to be either stolen by someone within the civil service, or the money just diverted to something else. There’s no order in Zambia anymore.

    • I sympathize with the family of Vespers. It takes a lot to raise and educate a child, particularly a girl child. To therefore lose her life because of police foolishness must hurt. As a parent myself and UNZA don, I feel terribly hurt by the untimely death of such a wonderful human being.
      Things are just not right in our country and the sooner those in government realize this, the better for us all. When Dr. Kaunda lost popularity, not even the police could protect his government. Lungu may increase budgetary funding to the police and military to brutalize fellow citizens, but he should know that when Zambian people’s patience runs out, as it surely is, not even the police and soldiers will protect him.

    • Was it not just the other day when the thug minister Kapyongo was lying about peace in Zambia and yet he gives instructions to police to kill female students. How shameful!

      This was a predetermined move by PF police to target the defenseless females. Maybe they raped the girl and killed her after which they alleged she died of teargas.

      This incidence adds more evidence as to why Lungu must go by force.

      Please folks join me in sending a clear message to Lungu by concluding your posts by saying LUNGU MUST GO.

    • The sad part is only the innocent perish. The girl was a BA from what i have gathered. As an ex- lumpen from International RUPO H/Q. I understand from experience at UNZA is that the best language our government understand is protesting especially for government (01) sponsored student. Why can’t our government fulfill it’s obligation? Those 1000 police officers recruited recently are not there to protect your interest, come 2021 you will remember me. UNZASU you have failed your members. I miss Hamangaba Hamusankwa who was one of the best UNZASU presidents ever.

    • Its hard to believe that lungu is a lawyer bcoz of the way he disrespects the constitution
      Its hard to believe that lungu was ever at UNZA bcoz of the way he has mismanaged it
      Its even harder to believe that lungu is even Zambian bcoz of his tribalism & unpatriotism, theft & carelessly indebting the country

    • Very sad, these toy soldiers ZP must be taught a lesson in discipline. They are bullies and trust me bullies will one day be judged accordingly by God Almighty. Why going after the girls in their hostels? Is it the girls who went to the roadside to break these booths? Catch the officers who did this and give them the death penalty. And Kapyongo must also be fired the man has proven he is cruel and has not humanity, no sympathy with the people. Being a Home Affairs minister doesn’t mean you are God, the day will come when the ones in charge of these irate officers will bump into the parents of Vespers on the street and believe me the guilt of being a party to this will consume them.

    • This almost happened to me in the ruins 12 yes ago. Thanks to that good samaritan who helped me breath through it . Wherever u are bro God bless u!! Am alive. The police should exercise restraint by only keeping the students away from road and not attacking the hostels. RIP sister!!

    • Let me just ask the regular bloggers MushOta, Ndobo, Jay Jay, if you had just joined the Zambia Police and had never even been to Lilayi would you fire a tear gas cannister into a room? Why? Why mwebantu? even us untrained civilians know that tear gas is for dispersing unruly mobs. It’s not a weapon for punishing people who have retreated. The police IG his reckless police man and government should all be sued for this death. This poor girl’s family must be assisted to sue. Police must treat our future leaders at Unza with care. This is not Lilayi robot police training school but the university. Let’s see some action.

    • Hope Bonny Kapeso was not involved, that would be a sign that God also disapprove his appointment as deputy of tear-gas throwers.

  2. Its only in Zambia where I see teargas being thrown into an enclosed space. What kind of training do these police lumpens receive? Please let those responsible face the wrath of the law

  3. May Her rest in Peace and May her family look to God for comfort and strength to carry this burden. Our Country should not have room for such acts which are to the detriment of people’s lives in this case the students. In as much as it is not right for the students to take matters in their own hands and in as much as the Police have the duty to maintain law and order this should never be done at the expense of people’s lives. This Life lost was a child to someone a sister to some and a friend to many. May the relevant authorities ensure that the person/s behind this are held accountable and May the government do everything they can to address the plight of Our Children so that we do not ever get to witness a recurrance of this. May Her Soul rest in Peace.

  4. Some one should be arrested for this, an innocent life lost. please pay these students there food allowance busy travelling with big delegations who know nothing dull as they come

  5. Who is going to compensate the parents and family for this loss? Why not just pay them and avoid such incidents? Everything in this government if in reverse gear, we are in trouble, lets open our eyes before its too late.

  6. KK was and could remain the most powerful President this country will ever have, thanks to the one-party state. However, DESPITE ALL THAT POWER KK HARD, POLICE NEVER TEAR GASSED ANYBODY IN THEIR ROOM!! WHAT POLICE USED TO DO WAS TO ENSURE CONTAINMENT WITHIN CAMPUS,SO THAT VIOLENCE COULD NOT SPREAD TO PARTS OF THE CITY! Once students retreated in the rooms, police never went to through tear gas in residences! They only went to residences to pick identified students ,perceived as ring leaders, whose names were collected by the Intelligence Service!! At one time Parliament was hot with MPs expressing displeasure at a picture of a Police “merely” slapping a female student!! THIS ACT, OTHERS OF BRUTALITY AGAINST STUDENTS AND GENERAL ZAMBIAN POPULACE IS REFLECTION OF FAILED LEADERSHIP,SHOULD…

  7. What kind of nonsense is this kanshi? The life of a young promising girl is lost because police are half baked and don’t know how to use teargas. It’s high these people said to answer for their actions. What a pain and waste. Am a parent l know how it feels to lose a child.

  8. If Government doesn’t do anything to the culprits let God arrest them all that all who are involved in Vespers death shall never have peace until they repent.

  9. Comment:I can’t stop my tears although am a stranger to har.lord of Mercy Lord of elijah.let your will be done. coz blood is blood

  10. When you behave in a violent manner destroying public infrastracture, what you are basically saying is ” Please the only way to deal with me is through violence”

  11. mbeba na kolwe…. you are as your nickname……. Imagine if it was your sister or your mother who has died ? you are very a sleazy chap with no emphathy at all……
    Even Tasila Lungu was to die I would feel sorry for his father despite her father’s maladministration… Life is precious and we should never think that other peoples lives are not more important than ourselves… we are all created in GOD’s image….
    Personally i hate people who enjoy causing hurt to others but I dont wish anyone dead

  12. The commanding officer and all the police thugs who were sent to UNZA should all be fired! Why do these police thugs always fire tear gas in students’ rooms? This is not the first time UNZA has suffered such a tragedy and we are getting thoroughly fed up!

    • To the the one blogger who has voted my statement down – do you have a heart or are you the policeman who gassed the innocent student to death??

  13. Condolence to the bereaved family. Lives should not be lost in such a manner. Please police can you do your Job professionally, otherwise this is very retrogressive and has no place in society.

    May the soul of Vesper Rest in Peace

  14. Id!ot named Tyali is blaming HH for the death of the young student.

  15. How long shall they kill our prophets and prophetess while we stand aside and look…

    Won’t you help me sing, this song freedom,

  16. If she were a political public figure, this tragic death would be deemed an assassination .We are beeing told instead that she suffocated and succumbed at UTH.Whatirony! She was in her dorm abiding the arbitrary laws against freedom of speech.The Kangaroo force of illeterate bandits saw it fit to cut off her oxygen and justify there was a riot in her room, on her bed! Wake up Zambia, it is time we stopped “suffocating” people for under any circumstances .It’s an outdated mode of crowd control anywhere.In this case you could have made an arrest if that was justified.The murder suspects are many and must pay the consequences and family! They range from the very top to the medal less private. Rest in peace girl, knowing you have done you part reforming the Zambia Riot bandit force!

  17. What a stupid and unintelligent comment from the so-called ‘Nubian princess’. Someone has died in circumstances that show that regardless of whether there was a riot, tear gas was used wantonly and cowardly – in a room. Was she rioting in the room? Many a comment from this person have been despicable to say the least. We have freedom to express ourselves but when it is so insensitive and inhuman, it deserves condemnation.

  18. This is the worst government Zambia has ever experienced. Just why teargas students who have retreated to their rooms. Besides I dont think this girl even went to the roadside to do harm to anyone. She could have been studying in the room as it is always the case with our girls at UNZA.
    I just dont understand this government. People are hungry and you start killing them for no reason at all; Just for asking what is due to them. If you have failed to pay the students just kill all of them you i.diots. Her blood is on your hands imwe ma-*****s. You find money to go all over the world in millions of kwacha of tax payers money and fail to pay students a meagre K1000 per month if not less.
    Now monks have a reason to pick you by your bolls!
    You are a disaster!!!!

  19. Am very heart broken by this news.losing her is a great loss to the family. May her soul rest in peace till we meet again on the day when Jesus shall come. Amen

  20. Wtf was the police spraying in the room for? Was the riot in her room? This pf govt has to go! We have never suffered like this in any zambian government before

  21. A very tragic situation. What’s even more troubling is that the spokesperson does not even show sympathy to the family or the situation expect for saying “unfortunately”. This is way beyond just unfortunately. I would expect sympathy to the family, a promise to investigate the matter fact to rule out negligence or excess force by the Police.

    On one hand, the idea of students rioting and blocking the Great East Road and inconveniencing innocent motorist when the grievances should be directed towards the government has to stop. Here we are, ending up with a very fatal outcome….I am sure UNZA students are smart enough to find other ways to the their issues with government without involving the general public which is not part of the bone of contention.

  22. If there was a time for Press Conference and Commission of Inquiry its now…ZP still use teargas like its 1960….how do you use it in a confined area.
    I hope the sue these incompetent fooools in Police and the short minister!!

  23. The newly appointed deputy PIG was out to pleas lungu…..

    MHSRIP…..a life needlessly cut short by trigger happy PF police….

  24. Unnecessary death! PF government had stashed AID money in a ZANACO bank, which is said to have since been returned. They boasted about it …yet their puppetry police force is annihilating innocent students for protesting unpaid allowances. How does any of this make sense, except to say its criminal? Investigate those responsible and bring them to justice. Is Zambia now becoming another America, where blacks are killed for anything and everything? Justice for this young and aspiring lady!

  25. Utterly devastating!!! This senseless, unwanton, unacceptable and incomprehensive murder in cold blood, because that is what it is, of an innocent and defenseless young lady whose only crime is that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and pitted against an incompetent, inept, brutal and corrupt police force, can only be matched by the sheer stupidity of the statement issued by the Police spokesperson Mrs Ester Katongo on such a very sensitive public matter of such public significant proportions. These unnecessary and senseless killings by our police force must stop and must stop now. The government must realise that such killings are a clear indictment on its moral authority to continue claiming its legislative authority to effectively govern. Government must leave no stone…

  26. … unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of these killings are found and immediately brought to book. In the absence of any meaningful action on the part of the government to swiftly deal and get to the bottom of this matter, the public reserve, and rightly so, the right to consider this government to be an accomplice to these killings. Government must not be seen to be aiding and abetting the culture of police brutality and impunity.

  27. How sad. Nkandu Luo must pay the price for calling for brutality against University Students who have not been heard.
    As most have already said, the government must be sued to answer for this and many more wrongs. Civilisation has signs and levels. This is certainly not a good one and the lowest to say the least.

  28. Everyone that was sent to keep vigil should be sued no actually the whole police force should be sued for training these vagabonds…it also happened to me in 2015 wen our room was fired with teargas… We coughed for the whole of that year coz the smell couldn’t finish and now a life is lost.. This police brutality should come to an end!!
    PS :they are sent to keep peace but only bring abt violence ????????
    RIEP vespers????????

  29. Very sad in this time of PF: How would you feel as a Police Officer if your own daughter or Son dies in this manner. Are the Police not trained to be fiscally fit and strong enough just to enter in the students rooms and arrest them. MHSRIP

    • Hello AZ.

      There are two versions of what caused the death, the first version reports that it was a fire, and other reports that it was a teargas canister. The version that reports that it was fire seems to be on the strong position in that fire engines were called in to put the fire off. But the questions to ask are, what and who would have caused the fire in the said hostel? Students or police officers and how?

      By examining the situation during the riot and battle between the police and students, one thing seems to be close to finding out the truth. First thing that is close to causing the fire is the action by the police of throwing a teargas canister as the metallic shell of the carnister does get hot when releasing the gas and depending on what it lands on, the fire could…

  30. There are two versions of what caused the death, the first version reports that it was a fire, and other reports that it was a teargas canisters. The version that reports it was fire seems to on the strong position in that fire engines were called in to put the fire off. But the questions to ask is, what and who would have caused the fire in the said hostel? Students or police officers and how?

    By examining the situation during the riot and battle between the police and students, one thing seems to be close to finding out the truth. First thing that is close to causing the fire is the action by the police throwing a teargas canisters as the metal can gets hot when releasing the gas depending on what it lands on the fire could start good example is on flammable materials. There are…

  31. Let’s not bleam the PF PARTY over this, sata said it ,to say that you EDUCATED people are cawerds ,you go to school to paece not violence, learn to tolk not to fight that’s what you wanted

  32. the government should stop sending uneducated people to stop demonstration in higher education institutions,,,,, because they may end up killing them all!!!

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