Friday, October 18, 2013

Cops arrest 300 PF cadres for criminal trespass
By Allan Mulenga
Fri 27 Sep. 2013, 14:01 CAT

OVER 300 suspected PF cadres, including women vendors selling assorted merchandise around Trishul Farms in Lusaka West, have been arrested for criminal trespass. And police yesterday fought running battles with the cadres who blocked Mumbwa Road in Garden House area.

In the morning, police conducted an operation to remove the cadres who had encroached on 30 hectares of land belonging to a Mr Patel, owner of Trishul Farms.

Upon noticing police presence in the area, the suspected PF cadres mobilised themselves and rushed to Mumbwa road near Garden House Hotel to block police vehicles that were patrolling the area.

But the mob grew, forcing police to retreat thereby sparking a riot.
In the process, the mob looted several shops and Investrust Bank at Colosul Mall.

Police had to call for reinforcements.

Business around Garden House Hotel came to a standstill as the mob continued to terrorise the area, prompting shop owners and traders to abandon their shops as vehicles were prevented from passing through the area.

In an interview later, acting police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said those who were arrested for criminal trespass would appear in court today.

Hamoonga warned that police would not take kindly to land grabbing by party cadres.

"This morning around 10:00 hours we conducted an operation as Zambia Police. This was after having received numerous complaints relating to people trespassing on other people's property in Lusaka West. We had one of our biggest arrests this year; we have arrested well over 300 persons that were trespassing on a farm in Lusaka West," he said. "We just want to warn the public that as police, we are moving in and we will not relent to deal with any criminal elements of whatsoever political affiliation. We will ensure that they are dealt with."

Hamoonga said police action had shamed its critics who labelled the service a "toothless institution".

"These people that have been apprehended are over 300. As police we are working around the clock that tomorrow these people appear before the courts of law. We want to warn the public that those that have a tendency of buying illegal pieces of land stand to lose out. We will not take any unnecessary excuses from any person who will trespass on the land of another person, the legal owner," said Hamoonga.

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