SMUGGLERS RUN AMOK

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:38:18 +0000

 

By Jackson Mapapayi

 

A National Service (ZNS) officer was forced to fire in the air to disperse an irate and unruly crowd of maize smugglers that was intent on lynching him for interrupting their maize smuggling activity in Mushindano’s Kipushi village in North-Western Province.

The officer fired live ammunition in a bid to escape from mob justice while carrying out his duties inspecting houses which were reported to have been turned into warehouses for storage of maize and mealie meal meant for smuggling to some neighbouring country.

The ZNS officer was amongst others on operations inspecting houses that were suspected to have been turned into warehouses for maize and mealie meal.

Mushindamo District Commissioner Bensin Ngambo confirmed with the Daily Nation that a ZNS officers survived mob justice while checking on homes that were reported to have been stalking maize and mealie meal in readiness for smuggling.

He said the officer who he could not identify by name but a sergeant by rank was in the company of another officer who inspecting thirteen houses suspected to have been turned into warehouses for

storage of maize and mealie meal. He said the mob descended on the ZNS officers in Mushindano to prevent them from carrying out their

normal operations following reports of rampant maize and mealie meal smuggling in North-Western Province.

“Yes, I can confirm that one of our ZNS officers escaped beating from a mob. The officer was carrying out his official duties inspecting houses which were reported to have been turned into warehouses for the storage of maize and mealie meal meant for smuggling when the mob descended on him,” Mr Ngambo said.

He explained that in trying to defend himself, the officer fired one gun shot in the air as the mob was preparing to lynch him after they were angered that their houses were being inspected and searched.

“Of course, the officer was injured but he is out of danger. He was attacked by a mob and in trying to scare away his attackers, he fired in the air but that was after he was already injured,” he added.

He said one person had been arrested and that the owners of both the commodity and houses have vanished but a manhunt had been launched.

And Mr Ngambo has condemned the riotous behaviour by the residents and has described their actions as barbaric.

He said he would not allow people to take the law in their own hands, adding that whoever would be found wanting would be dealt with severely.

Meanwhile, a combined team of officers from all security wings would be visiting Kipushi border area to check on the operations currently going on where thousands of bags of mealie meal bags have been impounded and in the process move them back to Solwezi.

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