The Zambia Correctional Service (ZCS) has vehemently refuted media reports claiming that one of the suspects in the abduction case of Pamela Chisumpa and 12 others had escaped from custody, while another one was shot dead, and the third one fell and sustained a fractured backbone in their attempt to escape. In a press statement, Superintendent Gillian Namungala, the Public Relations Officer for the ZCS, clarified that all the suspects are safe and accounted for under their custody.
“The Zambia Correctional Service would like to refute media reports published by News Diggers in their edition dated 10th March, 2023 purporting that one suspect in the abduction case of Pamela Chisumpa and 12 others has escaped from custody, one was shoot dead and that another fell and sustained a fractured backbone in their attempt to escape. We would like to assure members of the public that all the suspected abductors are safe and still accounted for under our custody contrary to sensational reports from some sections of the media,” Superintendent Namungala stated.
The statement further outlined the robust strategies that the ZCS has in place to curtail escape attempts, including a zero-tolerance policy for escapes and stern sanctions on officers who contribute to security breaches.
“We have a firm stance on escapes, which includes stern sanctions on officers who, through complacency, negligence, or otherwise contribute to security breach. A number of officers who have been found culpable have since been suspended from duty,” the statement read.
Superintendent Namungala also highlighted the ZCS’s promotion policy for officers who go the extra mile to recapture escapees and inmates who have been at large for a long time.
“The Service has a policy of promotion of officers who go the extra mile and who through personal commitment, dedication, and courage successfully recapture any escapee, particularly inmates who have been at large for a long time. This is notwithstanding regular aggressive escape routines to recapture any inmate that may have escaped from lawful custody,” she added.
The ZCS has also initiated a whistle-blower policy and is offering a monetary reward of K 5000.00 (Five Thousand Kwacha) to informers and whistle-blowers while protecting their identity.
“In this regard, we call upon members of the public with information on escapees from many years back to report to the nearest Correctional Center, and that a monetary reward of K 5000.00 (Five Thousand Kwacha) will be given to the informers and whistleblowers while protecting their identity,” Superintendent Namungala confirmed.
The Zambia Correctional Service has urged members of the public to report any information that may aid in recapturing escapees, and the Commissioner General Mr. Fredrick Chilukutu has assured the public that all inmates are in safe and secure custody.
“We sound a strong warning to would-be escapees, members of the public, and individuals with the intention of aiding or harboring escapees that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them,” Superintendent Namungala warned.
The ZCS has also appealed to the media to be mindful when covering stories related to security as they have the potential to jeopardize investigations and cause unnecessary alarm.