Sunday, February 17, 2008

MMD, UPND cadres fight running battles in Chibolya

MMD, UPND cadres fight running battles in Chibolya
By Brighton Phiri
Sunday February 17, 2008 [03:00]

Police in Lusaka yesterday detained three opposition UPND officials after their cadres stormed Kanyama Police Post with pangas and machetes as they pursued their rival MMD cadres after a running battle. Lusaka commanding officer Greenwell Ng'uni confirmed the arrest of three UPND officials who were spotted among the cadres carrying pangas and machetes.

"As police, we have acted and some people have been detained. You can imagine the cadres came at the police station with pangas and machetes...we cannot tolerate that," Ng'uni said. "We said this is not Kenya...and we moved in to pick some of the leaders."

Ng'uni said police were pursuing cadres who stormed the police post with pangas as they escaped after their leaders were picked.

According to one of the police officers at Kanyama Police Post, the UPND cadres followed their rival group (MMD) to the police post after fighting running battles and exchanging blows at each other in Chibolya compound.

"I wish you were here when these cadres came with pangas and stones...this is unacceptable," said the police officer. "We have even detained their vehicle in which we found some pangas and stones."

He said there was confusion at the police post after the UPND cadres stormed the area soon after some MMD cadres had arrived to report about their being attacked by UPND supporters in Chibolya compound.

MMD youth chairperson Patrick Musonda said the fight erupted after UPND cadres allegedly attacked their campaign vehicle, which was carrying food for their members.

He said UPND cadres allegedly attempted to loot the food before MMD cadres reinforced their colleagues during the scuffle. Musonda warned UPND that his cadres would not hesitate to react violently if they continued to provoke them.

He accused the police of not reacting quickly to their request for security as several of their cadres had been hurt during the campaign violence in Kanyama.

Musonda said one of the MMD supporters, who was injured during the violence, was rushed to University Teaching Hospital for treatment.

According to one of the MMD cadres, Mirriam Tembo, who was in the food delivery vehicle, the UPND cadres stoned them as they approached their camp in Chibolya before attempting to loot their food.

"We don't know what will happen to some of us during the night because these people (UPND cadres) have identified us," she said.

UPND campaign manager Daglous Siakalima named UPND deputy elections committee chairperson Philip Mambo and Southern Province UPND chairperson John Chidyaka as some of the UPND officials that were detained by police.

"We have three of our people under detention. Among them Mr Chidyaka, Mambo and one of our Lusaka youths," he said.

He dismissed MMD's claims that UPND cadres attacked them in an attempt to loot their food from their campaign vehicle. Siakalima said it was in fact the MMD cadres that provoked the situation when they attacked their camp in Chibolya compound.

"Just last week, we reported to police an incident where one of our vehicles' windscreen was shattered by the MMD thugs. But the police never responded," he said. "Just last night, I phoned Mr Ng'uni when I was informed that MMD were planning to attack us and he assured me of total security. And indeed MMD attacked us this morning."

Siakalima identified a Land Cruiser registration number ABD 2555 detained at the police post as that which belonged to UPND campaign team.
A check by The Post, found some of the stones stocked in the vehicle.

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