Zambia: CB Police Chief Condemns Lufwanyama Shooting
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
November 14, 2006
Posted to the web November 14, 2006
COPPERBELT Province acting police chief, Dobson Siame, has condemned the conduct by police officers that allegedly shot and wounded three former street kids at Katembula Youth Training Centre in Lufwanyama district at the weekend.
Mr Siame described the conduct by police officers as unprofessional and that police had started investigations. He warned that officers found wanting would be disciplined.
"It is unprofessional for police officers to have handled the matter in the manner they did," he said.
Mr Siame, however, said police had received reports on streets kids terrorising residents in Lufwanyama.
He said police officers had on several occasions complained of being attacked by former street kids while on duty.
He said on November 7, around 20:00 hours, a police officer was attacked by three street kids who were accompanied by a woman.
Mr Siame said the youths beat up the police officer and tore his uniform-shirt at the checkpoint in Lufwanyama.
Mr Siame said on November 11, when police followed up the matter, they spotted two of the boys who had attacked the officer and apprehended them and later, word went round that police had picked up the boys.
Mr Siame said it was at this point that the boys mobilised themselves and started throwing stones and sticks at police officers to prevent the law enforcers from arresting their colleagues.
In the process, police officers tried to threaten the boys by shooting in the air and on the ground.
Mr Siame said the bullets that hit a stone bounced and hit one of the street kids on the chin, while missiles fired in the air hit the other two.
Meanwhile, Lufwanyama member of Parliament (MP), Lwipa Puma, has warned that the former street kids who are terrorising the area risk being flashed out if they continued with their attacks on the residents.
Dr Puma, who is Health Deputy Minister, also appealed to the ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development to scrutinise the youths enrolled at the centre saying others were criminals.
Dr Puma said in an interview yesterday that the rights and freedoms of others in the area should not be compromised just because they were being reformed.
He had received numerous complaints of assault and harassment by the youths from the residents in Lufwanyama.
"These boys are causing a lot of confusion, if they don’t change they will be evicted from the area," he said.
Dr Puma said there was need for the ministry to re-assess the kids before being enrolled, as most of them could be hard-core criminals.