HH hid in bunker

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 10:23:49 +0000

 

UPND leader refused to obey police orders to come out of secret bunker

By BENNIE MUNDANDO

A SECRET bunker in which UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema barricaded himself was the target of the teargas which police threw to smoke him out after he refused to turn himself up to them.

According to sources within the police, officers arrived at Mr. Hichilema’s house in New Kasama around 21:00 on Monday last week and asked Mr. Hichilema to come out but that the opposition leader refused, forcing the police to break the gate and storm the building.

When they entered the house, they only found his family and workers as Mr Hichilema hid himself and that in order to force him out, officers threw teargas canisters, aiming at the bunker but that he opted to remain in the bunker until 11:00 hours the following day, even when his family was choked by teargas.

And PF deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya has charged that the use of teargas by police to smoke out Mr. Hichilema was the only option available and that the action was justified.

He said there was nothing else police could do to fish out an individual who hid himself in a bunker from 21:00 on Monday to 11: 00 on Tuesday other than the use of teargas to get him out.

Mr. Bwalya said allegations of human rights abuse by the police leading to the arrest of Mr. Hichilema did not suffice because he instigated the throwing of teargas in his house for failing to turn himself up to the police which ended up affecting his family as well.

He said there was no way the police could have entered into the bunker because they did not know what type of weapons he had while hiding there, adding that Mr. Hichilema never had problems with the police in his previous arrests since he turned himself up each time he was summoned but that his failure to do so on this occasion complicated matters.

“What else did people expect the police to do other than break into his house and smoke him out of the bunker in which he was hiding? The issue of human rights abuse by police does not arise here because Mr. Hichilema himself put his family at risk by refusing to cooperate with them when they went there to arrest him. Had he complied, there would have been no problem at all.

“This is not the first time that Mr. Hichilema has been arrested and all these years he has been cooperating with the police. Each time he was summoned, he availed himself. What was different this time that he decided to hide? The police should not be blamed for doing what was right according to the dictates of the situation at hand. No one can dare enter the bunker when you don’t know what sort of weapons the one inside has,” Mr. Bwalya said. While in the bbnker, Mr. Hichilema is believed to have been communicating with his family members as attested by his wife, Mutinta, who said she advised him not to go outside, fearing that the police would kill him.

Narrating the ordeal the following day, Mrs. Hichilema said police questioned her and the workers, demanding to know where Mr. Hichilema was.

“Police didn’t know where HH was. They beat up all the workers and arrested them and then they started torturing one worker (or son, I cannot remember) who ended up bringing the cops to the bunker entrance. What happened is that they just wanted to kill my husband.

“At first, the workers didn’t want to say but one of them brought them to our room there. They started beating him and the boy was crying. HH then told me ‘my friend, let me go out because these people are going to kill my workers’ but I said ‘you are not going out [because] it’s you they want. Why do they want to pick you up at 22:00 hours?’’ Ms. Hichilema narrated after her husband’s arrest.

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