The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has condemned the criminal and barbaric conduct of villagers in Katete who brutally attacked some police officers last week.
HRC Spokesperson, Mweelwa Muleya, said it is unacceptable for anyone to take the law into their own hands as the villagers did regardless of their emotions towards any given situation.
Mr Muleya stated in a press statement issued to the media in Lusaka yesterday that police officers have a constitutional obligation of maintaining law and order and protecting human rights.
He added that police officers deserve support and respect as they carry out their national duties.
And the Human Rights Commission has called on the police high command that has moved into Katete to deal with the unfortunate situation to conduct thorough investigations and ensure that all culprits are properly identified and subjected to the due process of the law.
“The commission would like to earnestly appeal to the police to continue exercising the same commendable level of professionalism exercised by the victims who refrained themselves from using excessive force, which could have probably aggravated the situation and resulted in mass killings of villagers and some officers alike,” Mr Muleya said.
Mr Muleya has further urged the senior police command pursuing the perpetrators to consider facilitating the compensation of the injured officers and continue rendering support to them beyond just medical care.
He explained that this would mitigate the adverse impact of the injuries on their general wellbeing and that of their families.
Mr Muleya further commended the police officers for their exceptional professionalism and restraint from using live ammunition on their assailants, even in the face of imminent danger to their lives.
“The commission was informed that the villagers defied warning shots and continued advancing violently until the officers reportedly ran out of ammunition. As a result, they were helpless, exposed and vulnerable to pouncing by the large mob of angry villagers who were armed with assorted objects,” he explained.
On November 19, 2022, villagers in Katete district in Eastern province brutally beat up some police officers for allegedly releasing two persons who were accused of murder but there was no evidence.
Mr Muleya stated that a total of nine officers were initially admitted to St. Francis Mission Hospital, out of which three were critically injured and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). However, as of 20th November 2022, only two officers were still admitted.