Seven police officers from the Copperbelt Crack Squad have been involved in an accident on their way to Chingola to quell riots.

Meanwhile, a 10-year-old grade four pupil has been hit by a stray bullet in the riots in Chingola.

Police this morning fought running battles with Chingola residents and more officers were dispatched to the area for reinforcement.

This was after police rescued a Chililabombwe man who was given instant mob justice after he was found in Chiwenana at an awkward hour.

Following what has been happening in the area, the residents mistook him for one of the suspected ritual killers and planned to burn him alive.

However, police rescued the man, which led to the residents taking their anger on the law enforcers and looted shops in the process.

To help quell the riots, police sent a team from Kitwe that, unfortunately, got involved in an accident.

Copperbelt Police commissioner Charity Katanga has confirmed the accident and said the seven police officers are all admitted at Ndola Teaching Hospital.

“Police officers in the morning were involved in an accident. These officers are from the Copperbelt Crack Squad who were going for refueling in preparation for reinforcement in Chingola. It was a serious accident which happened around 06:45 hours along Kabelenga and Chinika road. Involved was the police land cruiser number 2028 which was extensively damaged. The vehicle was being driven by Chilala Luseko, 40, and he is admitted at Ndola Teaching Hospital,” Katanga said.

“Other police officers also sustained serious injuries and are admitted at Ndola Teaching Hospital. Also involved was a vehicle ADE 1790 driven by Kalima Simponso, 22. The accident happened after the [police] vehicle [had a] break failure and hit the other vehicle. The police land cruiser overturned. We are still investigating the matter.”

On the juvenile who has been shot, she said the matter was reported by his parents.

“A male juvenile aged 10 sustained a gunshot wound and the parents reported that the juvenile was shot on the left hand shoulder. The juvenile has been identified as a grade 4 pupil Wallen Mwaba who was shot with a stray bullet and he is admitted at Nchanga Hospital,” Katanga said.

She also confirmed the riots by the residents.

“We had riots in Chingola on the 16th January 2020 around 01:00 hours. The police received a call that a person was arrested and was about to be burnt alive. The police found that the person was beaten and tyres were organised to have him burnt. Police rescued the man and took him to Chiwempala police. The members of the public then followed with a view to burn the police station where the man was kept. The wire fence was brought down. And that is how the riots started. The members blocked the roads, but the situation was contained,” said Katanga.

“Around 07:00 hours, the residents went to loot a shop. The victim who was beaten sustained a swollen face. Upon an inquiry, the victim was discovered to be a miner who had gone to drink after knocking off late. He works for Lubambe Mine in Chililabombwe. The members were not happy to find a person at that time, with what has been going on in Chingola. The miner has been identified as Russell Mwanakapongo aged 40. After the situation was contained, the residents in Chiwenana regrouped to start the riots, so we called for reinforcement in Kitwe and Chililabombwe. We have now deployed the mobile unit.”

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