I have taken time to comment on the incident that occurred in Katete District regarding the attack on officers by some villagers in Kamwaza village because my primary concern was to address the health conditions of officers and ensure that they received medical attention.
You may wish to know that of the Nine officers who were admitted to the hospital, only One is still admitted whose condition is stable and out of danger while others are recuperating from their homes.
Having analysed the details of what exactly transpired in Katete’s Kamwaza Village, I wish to state that it was unnecessary and unacceptable for the villagers to react in the manner they did as there are other available avenues to address their perceived grievances.
I have read and heard various opinions and comments from members of the public over the incident. The majority of which are commending the conduct of our officers.
In this regard, I wish to acknowledge the heroism exhibited by our officers for not retaliating by using force or opening fire on the villagers despite their lives being at stake, otherwise the situation could have been catastrophic. Officers had options by law to defend themselves in line with Section 24 of the Zambia Police Act Chapter 107 but they opted to restrain themselves.
I wish to warn members of the public pouring scorn to be mindful with their comments over such incidents as officers are listening to the information they are feeding them.
For Instance, some members of the public have made comments that our officers exhibited weakness by not retaliating and suggesting that there should have been casualties on both sides.
Members of the society should bear in mind that dynamics in policing approaches are now changing world over in line with the dictates of democracy and international protocols. As such, Law Enforcement Officers are required to prioritise the significance of human value even in extreme situations.
However, Police will not stand and watch law and order degenerate into lawlessness and anarchy. We will put our foot down and stamp out lawlessness in whatever form it comes, whether it occurs in a village set-up or urban area.
Therefore, the full arm of the law will be applied to all those who participated in injuring officers and burning a police vehicle. People should know that it does not pay to take the law into their own hands.
In view of this, I wish to inform the nation that we have apprehended twenty (20) people suspected to have been behind the attack on police officers. The suspects, all male persons aged between 18 and 53 are also believed to have gutted a Police motor vehicle, Land Cruiser registration number ZP 2502B and participated in the demolition of 16 houses.
They were rounded-up today, 24th November, 2022 around 02:00 hours in Joweni, Chinzu and Kamwaza Villages in Katete District. All the suspects are currently detained in police custody while investigations have intensified.
As a remedial measure, Police will enhance civic education aimed at enlightening members of the public on the need for co-existence with the police and other government institutions.
We will embark on the sensitization campaign in Katete and at an opportune time go to Chieftainess Kawaza’s area using officers from our Community Services Department (CSD) and the Police Drama Group so that residents in those communities can appreciate the role of the police.
By engaging members of the public, we will be cementing our relationship and enhancing the police – community relationship and collaboration.
I wish to caution certain individuals to avoid politicizing the incident by making unwarranted statements which are not related to what occurred in Katete.
Let me seize this opportunity to thank the general citizenry for supporting and acknowledging how officers applied themselves to avert what could have been a bloody incident.
And as such, let me applaud the professional conduct exhibited by officers who applied themselves by exercising maximum restraint amidst serious provocation by the unruly villagers.
As a way to recognise their professionalism and sacrifices, my Command is considering to promote the officers involved.
It is also important to inform the nation that the security situation in Chieftainess Kawaza and other surrounding areas is calm and members of the public are going about with their routine businesses without any disturbances.
INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE