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Zambian leader directs army to help tackle problem of gassing of people

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Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Friday directed the army to join forces with the police to deal with the problem of increased incidents of gassing of homes.

The Zambian leader has also offered a bounty of money to anyone who will provide credible information that lead to the arrest of culprits behind the gassing of homes and public institutions such as schools.

“I am warning those behind the gassing of innocent citizens in selected parts of the country that their days are numbered.

“Whatever your motivation, we are closing in on you. We will find you and you will pay for your criminal activities,” Lungu said in a post on his Facebook page.

The government, he said, will do everything possible to protect citizens from people with criminal elements.

The Zambian leader’s warning comes in the wake of riots that rocked some parts of Lusaka, the country’s capital, on Thursday.

Police fought running battles with residents who had mobilised after word went round that some people behind the gassing had been spotted.

Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata-Katongo said three people suspected to be behind the gassing were burnt by a mob who also damaged three police stations and police vehicles.

The problem of gassing of homes and public institutions, which first occurred in the small mining town of Chingola, in Copperbelt Province, two months ago, has spread to different parts of the country, with Lusaka being the latest.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the people behind the gassing were ritualists who were collecting blood from their victims.

Authorities have yet to establish the motives behind such attacks, as investigations are still going on.

Police I-G Kakoma Kanganja said officers were working around the clock to bring perpetrators to book. A number of suspects have been arrested, he said.

Kanganja said the chemical that was used to gas people has been established, but the name of the chemical cannot be revealed as that may pose a security risk.

Some residents of Lusaka have since mobilized to help the police deal with the problem.

In Ngo’mbe compound, a sprawling residential area, some young people said they are conducting patrols at night.

“We did not sleep because we spent the whole night patrolling,” one yout, who only gave his first name, James, said.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Tajudeen Atitebi

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