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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Zambia Police Chief Updates the Nation on Security following a spate of Mob Justice incidences

Columns Zambia Police Chief Updates the Nation on Security following a spate of...


Members of the press, welcome to Police Service Headquarters for this update on the security situation in the country. We have called for this briefing so that through you the media, we can update the nation on this matter of grave concern both to the government as well as members of the general public.

We could have given this extensive briefing much earlier but for fear of jeopardizing investigations, we only released information cautiously at regular intervals. Now that we have made a lot of progress in investigations and effecting arrests, we are able to interact with the public through you the media.

In so doing, let me start by providing the background to this matter. The current insecurity being experienced in the country emanated from criminal attacks in Chingola district of the Copperbelt Province in which three families were victims.

As was indicated in the Ministerial Statement presented by the Home Affairs Minister in parliament, Police on 29th August 2019, a family of six in Chikola area of Chingola district was attacked by unknown criminals armed with machetes in which four children aged between 4 and 12 years sustained serious injuries while their mother was allegedly raped and murdered. The attackers used windows to gain entry and to exit and were targeting mainly the unfinished houses.

The second attack occurred between the 15th of December, 2019 at 21:00 hours and 16th December, 2019 at 06:00 hours in Chikola loop in Chingola in which male Chanda Chama aged 9 years was attacked by criminals using a suspected metal bar and he sustained a painful left shoulder.

The third occurrence happened between 29th December, 2019 and 30th December, 2019 at 08:00 hours in Chikola loop in Chingola in which Levison Chongwe’s family sustained a deep cut on the forehead and Ruth Kambole , 22 his wife, also sustained a deep cut on her forehead and was strangled to death and raped.

Emanating from these incidents, one suspect was apprehended by the public who confessed that he was involved in the killings together with others whose names he mentioned. However, after investigations, the names mentioned were not connected to the occurrences. Further, a witch doctor was also named by concerned members of the public but investigations revealed that he was not connected to the offence.

The mode of operation (modus operandi) in all these criminal attacks was similar in that attackers targeted unfinished houses and never stole anything after attacking. Further the point of entry and exit from houses were windows. Riots started after a struggle to burry a body of one of the victims who was brutally killed and 29 rioters were apprehended.

Afterwards, on Wednesday, 8th January, 2020 between 08:00 hours and 19:00 hours, Chingola district experienced a series of riots in Chiwempala , Mwaiseni, Lulamba and Chikola townships. Consequently, the police apprehended a total of 158 suspects, among them, 102 males and 21 females for riotous behavior. These attacks where criminals could enter households and attack all members of the households brought insecurity and fear in members of the public and this sparked riots. 158 suspects were charged with riotous behavior in Chingola.

One other incidence which sparked riots was a scenario where police officers from Luanshya went to Chiwempala in Chingola to apprehend a suspect in a case of vandalism involving ZAMTEL cables. This suspect was later identified as a worker for the prominent businessmen in the area. Members of the public immediately linked the businessman to the deaths that were experienced in the area and set his house and other properties on fire and subsequently looted some shops in the area.

During this period, videos and audios, which were inciting in nature, flooded social media thereby raising fear and panic among members of the public. For instance, there were videos depicting events such as instant mob justice and murder which happened in other countries but were purported to be incidents of ritual murders happening in Zambia when in fact not.

Then the trend of chemical spraying emerged and spread to other towns of the Copperbelt where some incidences of public disorder were recorded and some public infrastructure, predominantly police infrastructure, among them Mabungo and Malaika Police posts in Luanshya, Luangwa in Kitwe and Mutenda police posts in Chingola were destroyed.

The crime trend then shifted from attacks on households where occupants were being hacked to Malicious Administering of Poisonous chemical substances with intent to cause harm, being referred to by the public as gassing or chemical spraying. This began from Chiwempala in Chingola district.

The incidences of chemical spraying later spread to North-Western Province where first reports were recorded in Munyama area and Lumwana East. This sparked riots in Kisasa area of Kalumbila District where a Power Tools Bus and a Nissan Hard Body had windows smashed and occupants attacked by a mob. As a result of this disturbance, 35 people were apprehended for riotous behaviour.

Due to this public disorder, Kakaindu Police Post in Kalumbila District and Kazomba Police Post were gutted by mobs. However, police managed to quell all the incidences of public disorder and have continued with investigations in the reports of alleged chemical spraying and malicious damage to public and private property.

The same type of crime wave was experienced in Lusaka in early February, 2020 with reports received from Lusaka Middle West. However, most of the initial reports were unverified as there were no visible effects on victims or chemical traces on the scenes. Nonetheless, on 13th February, 2020, suspected cases of chemical spraying were recorded in Chawama, Kanyama, John Howard, Chaisa and Matero townships where effects were evident on the victims. In reaction to these reports, members of the public took the law in their own hands and began attacking any person they suspected not to be a member of their community. In some instances, mobs went to police stations where they assumed suspects in chemical spraying were detained and demanded for their release so that they could be lynched. As a result of this, four police infrastructure were damaged namely Chipwalu, Kanyama West, Mumbwa Road Police posts and Kanyama Police Station still under construction.

Members of the public also blocked and damaged any motor vehicle spotted in their localities at night and assaulted the occupants. In most of such incidences, victims were rescued by officers on patrol while in some instances victims ran to safety.

Subsequently, incidences of chemical spraying were experienced in other parts of the country such as Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern provinces while Luapula, Muchinga and Western provinces had some reports which are still unverified.

People killed in instant mob justice were on mere suspicion especially in instances where a person involved may not be known in a particular community. In some instances, mental patients were victims of the instant mob justice. In Lusaka, most of the incidences of mob justice were sparked by illegal community security groupings on streets armed with an assortment of offensive weapons. The initiative by members of the public to equip themselves with whistles was with the aim of alerting other community members when attacked by criminals which was a good initiative which worked well in Chingola, however, in Lusaka the initiative was abused and led to innocent people being attacked by the public.

Another trend emerged where members of the community began blocking some public roads and searching motor vehicles for suspected chemicals which resulted in some motor vehicles being damaged. This conduct also instilled fear in the travelling public.

One of this kind was the incident experienced in an area between Kafue Gorge Turn Off and Shamikobo village in which nine people were apprehended for riotous behaviour and two were charged for being in possession of offensive weapons.

Another incidence was recorded in Chief Milambo of Milenge District in which civilian officers from ZNS were victims of such attacks after they encountered a mob that had blocked the road armed with all sorts of weapons such as spears and axes. The mob further burnt a motor vehicle, property of Zambia National Service.

In addition to these ugly scenarios of mob justice, on 19th February 2020, police took a victim of mob justice to Mazabuka Hospital for medical attention after suffering injuries, a mob reorganized themselves the following day and descended on the suspect who they pulled out of the Hospital and further beat him up and later set the body ablaze.

A similar incidence happened in Samfya where a mob damaged Mwewa community police post after police detained a suspect who was handed over to police by some community members for loitering around 21 30 hours. The mob injured police officers who were manning the post and managed to drug a suspect from the detention facility and burnt him.

This was just a sample of some of the encounters that police have had with mobs and it is disturbing to note that people can even go to an extent of going to a health facility where people with different ailments are being attended to, to drug a patient from Hospital and later kill merely on suspicion.

After analyzing the scenarios involving mob justice and the mode of operation, we went further in our investigations to establish what could have been motivating the mobs to behave in that particular way. During investigations, it was established that there were groups of people formed and spread in various parts of the country and that these groups were spearheading mob justice in communities.

An operation was conducted on 20th February, 2020 and apprehended five master minders in this particular issue of mob justice believed to have been influencing people in communities to kill and burn suspects. Among the suspects, three were picked from Kasisi area in Chongwe while two were picked in Lusaka’s Kanyama Compound and have been charged with Murder contrary to section 200 of the Penal Code. They are detained in custody and will appear in court soon. I am warning all those that have not been arrested yet that their days are numbered and soon they will be behind bars.

As a result of mob justice emanating from false alarm, a total number of 43 people have died across the country while 23 were injured.

Statistics further indicate that 511 reports connected to chemical spraying of poisonous substances on households have so far been received with 1,687 victims. 11 police infrastructure have been damaged countrywide as a result of public disorder. Some of our motor vehicles have as well been damaged. Also damaged is the Serenje administration block for the local authority and a Council guest house. Some private properties such as motor vehicles and guest Houses have not been spared.

16 suspects have been arrested in connection with the reports of chemical spraying of which some have begun appearing in courts of law. Some of these 16 suspects were behind criminal activities experienced in Chingola District on the Copperbelt as well as North Western Province. This points to some interconnection in criminals behind this spate of crime.

An investigation team comprising various stakeholders has been constituted to conduct investigations and great progress has been recorded. A conclusive outcome of the investigations will be availed to the public when investigations are concluded.

With these developments, we are confident that instances of mob justice we have witnessed lately will now be under control.

I wish to inform the public that the security situation in some parts of the Country where there was public disorder such as Lusaka, Copperbelt and North Western Provinces has improved in that the number of reports involving members of the public taking the law in to their own hands have reduced. Also reduced are reports of chemical spraying in households. However, officers from Defence and Security Wings are alert and still monitoring the situation.

Suffice to mention that there are still security concerns in other parts of the country such as Luapula, Southern and Western Provinces where incidences of public disorder are still being recorded. I therefore call upon members of the public to desist from these acts of mob justice because anyone found wanting will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Allow me to reiterate our warning to all those who are in the habit of abusing social media for hate speech and to alarm and cause fear in the country. We have warned before that days for such characters are numbered. In this regard, I wish to report that police in Chingola have arrested Mubanga Elizabeth Chirwa, a wife of a musician and charged her for the offence of seditious publication with intent to cause fear and alarm. The suspect was traced to be behind the audio that went viral in the social media claiming that Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company on the Copperbelt was contaminated with chemicals and called on people not to consume water from this utility. She was released on police bond and will be appearing in court.

Another suspect identified as Jimmy Bwembya, aged 23, was apprehended by the police in connection with the circulation of the video depicting a murder that happened in another country deceiving people that it happened in Chingola. Investigations pointed to this suspect who was later picked from Solwezi. And further investigations revealed that he was also behind one of the deaths recorded in Chingola and was on the run when the four other suspects were cornered. He has since been charged with murder, attempted murder and rape.

I want to conclude by assuring the country not to panic because the situation is under control. All the security wings are together working day and night to protect our communities. Further, let me seize this opportunity to thank all the patriotic Zambians who have been cooperating with us by giving us various leads which have led to these arrests so far. This should send a strong warning to those who still would want to engage themselves in criminal activities that there is no hiding place for them.

And for those abusing social media for hate speech, to insult and malign innocent people and indeed to cause fear and alarm in the nation, I can only promise that we are coming for you. The arrest of Mubanga Elizabeth Chirwa and Jimmy Bwembya is a clear demonstration that there is no hiding place in the cyberspace. We are on top of things.

I thank you.

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  1. What a joke of a statement! You simply recite information that is widely reported and claim to have stabilised the situation.. Did you ask GBM testimony? The last iota of confidence I had in law enforcement just evaporated! Kanganja should be ashamed of this embarrassing report with no substance.. This guy should resign! Matters worse… The president whose office has so much power is SILENT….What’s happening in Zambian leadership clearly shows no one is on the drivers seat! Sad to watch…

  2. This statement confirms what has been clear for all with an unbiased, unsuperstious view point to see and that all this confusion over alledged “gassing” was pure hysteria over other incidents, no gassing incident was verified by any laboratory. It is very unfortunate that people died in Chingola at the hands of evil thugs, these are the same evil cretins that have caused this mass hysteria and inciting criminal gangs to create confusion in the country. Both UPND and PF members have been killed by these thugs and for people to still call out the “gassers” is deflecting from the real problem which is these evil criminal gangs behind this instant mob justice that want to destroy Zambia! Report any illegal gathering to the Police, report any sign of mob justice to the Police. ONE ZAMBIA…

  3. A comprehensive report, as expected from the law enforcemers. Things should really never have come this far. As a nation, we need to draw lessons from this ugly state of affairs. It seems there are certain people who do not want to see Zambians continue living in peace and harmony. From now on, we should all be more wary and more sensitive to identify and report such elements to the police. It is good to be vigilant but it is not good to be violent or take the law in one’s hands because anyone of us can be a victim of false allegation.

  4. Kanganja, did you ask GBM? Why are you afraid of asking GBM who told the nation that he knows the people who are behind the gassing scheme? Don’t think people are stup!d. Please stop killing our children and innocent people. It’s not necessary, and know that you will not be in power forever. When you set this country aflame, even your own families and relatives will be affected. The consequences of your schemes with Mr. Lungu are too ghastly to contemplate. Please do not destroy our only country just for the love of money and power.

  5. Rubbish update Mr IG.

    What is the type of gas? How is it being sourced?

    What is being done about mob justice other than mere warning?

    You have arrested some for fake news. Have you take GBM with his fake news to task?

  6. He has deliberately omitted the mention of the the chingola PF cadres who even appeared in court yesterday. Infact even state medtlike znbc did not report the news item.it is this seemingly small omissions that are causing people not to trust the police. Agreed, at this stage of updates,he should have disclosed the tyyof gas that is been used believing that they have the lab results. Not comforting update at all!!

  7. He did not mention any gas because there is no gassing , only superstitions driven by a hungry unemployed population feed on foundamentalist Christian and black magic spiritual values….

    Even the PIG belives in this black magic spiritual values of suspects turning into cats….

  8. Mr Kanganja how can you call media stations just to inform them list of events that they have read time and again?
    People want to know the perpetrators.I feel you would not have called media stations because your message is empty or didn’t coy the emotions of Citizens.

  9. The police are doing a great job in the circumstances. We plead for people to respect and make their work easier by cooperating with them. There is nothing to gain from going against the law or causing false alarm with fake news. You now have the official update and this remains the official outlet for any investigation. We hope our friends in opposition will not continue crying for updates every day. Let our men in uniform work to keep us all safe kz in Moscow

  10. Who are those in pictures behind your P.I.G?
    I thought on such address he should have Ba Edgar’s smiling Portrait?

  11. Iwe kz , you and your party have failed to read the mood of the Zambians and that is why your IG was conspicuously missing from the scene since this ordeal started in Chingola. Leadership was required before all this culminated in the loss of 43 innocent lives! 43 INNOCENT LIVES! There is nothing you can do to bring comfort to the relatives of the 43 lives and those 23 still nursing injuries. This mess you allowed will come to haunt you one day.
    GBM and Chilufya Tayali have been busy flamming the tension in the country by accusing the opposition of being behind all the gassing. When are you going to arrest them. Failure to do so means your party is the one which has been sponsoring them to accuse the opposition

  12. @Nostra mudala, no need to lock down the entire city just because of a few lunatics. I’m confident our police and army will find them and sort them out accordingly. They can run but they can’t hide.

  13. Better than the h² called FBI, KGB, Scotland yard, MI5 or 6.
    Some 1d10+s don’t read and all they have gotten out’a this is fog.
    “some groups of people formed and spread in various parts of the country and that these groups were spearheading mob justice in communities”. This is a terrorist group whose leader suits the “who the cap fits, let them worry.
    This is purely beyond the u5.

  14. He has instruments of power but using it for Mukula. The ka small has even gone into hiding.

    Click click click . Watch is unstoppable.

    2021 you be seeing tubena kz crying on prime TV at woodlands police

  15. Today was prayer day, with true Christians and false Christians all having their turn to pray and pretend respectively. Others were even seen thinking how many 2021 votes they stand to gain from that event. Surprisingly, there were no donations of cash by politicians to the churches, which is as it should be because that cash they donate has unknown and perhaps questionable sources because none of the donors earns salaries that can explain their “generosity”.

  16. It’s either you have a painful shoulder or you dont. There is nothing like suspected painful shoulder. There is nothing new which he has said. They still have no clue whatsoever as to what is going on not even which type of gas is being used. This reminds me of the keystone cops from black and white movies.

  17. In short they haven’t caught the Gassers, they don’t know what the chemicals are doing to those gassed and they don’t know why people are being gassed….they only caught these involved in riots and mob justice …i have just saved you 15 valuable minutes of your life from reading this useless statement

  18. Names of people arrested for purpotedly spreading false information are mentioned. But not names of arragedly arrested gassers and their master minds. STRANGE!

  19. Nine Chale,

    Point on. In my interactions with some people here in Lusaka, I have been amazed by some Zambians who seem more excited than worried by this tragedy and take it as a vindication of their negative views of the current government.

  20. Thank you, comrade IG. We look forward to your next statement. We shall comply and work with ZP and other security wings so that we continue being productive for our country. God Bless Zambia.

  21. The delay in naming the gassers only points to one thing – that they gassers are connected to politically connected persons.

    Why would they arrest citizen over fake news while leaving GBM and Tayali to continue to inflame tensions?

  22. Thank you very much for the press statement by the Inspector general of Police on the security situation In the country we are sick and tired of stories at list now we are ok with your update but i have a problem with GBM and Chulufya tayali these two people need to be cautioned there are too careless with their mouths there inciting violence in the country through their talk there are dividing the country and everybody is just watching even the police arrest these two guys for hate speech and inciting violence these two are a danger to the country.

  23. I have no respect for this P.i.G, I have seen many inspector generals in my life time and they were honorable and highly regarded by the public. This one is reaping the results of incompetence coupled with serving under an incompetent and corrupt presidency.

  24. But Mr. IG thank you for your press statement but just asking you said the funders of the gassing are not yet arrested but the people or the leaders behind mobilizing the mob justice are arrested and according to your statement its like these mob justice leaders are also using money to send people every where in the country to cause confusion so don’t you think these gas leaders so called funders and the mob justice leaders are they not connected just asking because i can smell a rat here if it’s like that everybody should be arrested and this thing should end now no time to play politics here lives are being lost.

  25. Zambia used to have respectable police inspector generals before the rascals started to rule.
    Ba Francis Ndlovu, Silas Ngangula , Darius Kalebo, Ngungu Sasasali, Ephraim Mateyo, Zunga Siakalima, Henry Mtonga and many more. They would make the current p.i.g look like a boy scout with no clue.

  26. Anyone who suggested this play of gas was a fool even i saw seer1 laughing in his car and promising more are these things coming from seer1 is it a curse on Zambia were are the men of God in Zambia to deliver us the problem with the men of God in Zambia they love money so they can’t hear from God only to money but remember the Bible says the love of money is the root of all evils not one evil but many.

  27. The level of incompetence is shocking. You fail to identify the perpetrators even during confrontations with the police? These guys need serious training to bring them into the 21st century.

  28. Zambia was in Solid state from 2011 – 2015. It changed to Failed state during 2016 – 2019. By the biggining of 2020 its in Gassious state with relatively Confused state as the entire nation do not know the Gassers. Soon it will be in Liquid state. Everybody knows what happens when its liquidated either by Moosho or Milingo Lungu. Eyooo!!!

  29. IG thanks for the update. However it leaves alot of unanswered questions : Why is GBM not mentioned 2: Why is Tayali not mentioned. 3..Why are the gassers masterminds? 4. Why is the focus on mob control and not rooting out the link between hospital recorded cases of gassing incidents and causes of gassing 5. Why is there no results on the gas and therefore home remedies for potential victims. These questions still remain unanswered.

  30. Kz you are mentioned in the report that you and Kampyongo are involved. Your time is quickly coming. I don’t think your end will be good.

  31. I am travelling back home today after a very successful work trip to Moscow Russia. A lot has been achieved during this trip and I thank our Russian partners. A very beautiful country indeed. The western world try to paint a negative picture of Russians but from my first hand experience, they are very welcoming and their women are even more respectful than expected. The racism is just propaganda because from the zambians I met here majority of them are settled with Russian women. Very integrated. I am considering sending my kids here in future. Travelling mercies. Kz

  32. Some people can make you laugh. @ Sichalwe, How do you ask where are the men of God? What are you? A man of Satan? You are the same people that send your relatives to false prophets because you have nothing to offer for yourself. Stop victimizing yourself and know that you are also a man of God. Wake up!

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