15 December 2012

Zambia: Ndola Explodes!

SOME Ndola residents yesterday went on an orgy of destruction and looting shops owned by Somalis in an apparent retaliation against the killing of a Zambian worker on Thursday.

In the process, police picked up 18 Zambians alleged to have been involved in the riot which left nine people seriously injured.

Six Zambians and three Somalis were injured and rushed to Ndola Central Hospital for treatment.

The Zambians are Asphod Chibwe, 22, Joseph Mwansa, 17, Frank Mumba, 36, Geoffrey Mwense, 36, Richard Mutale, 17, and Margaret Mangalashi, 63, while the Somalis are Mohammed Egeh Hassan, 48, Mustapha Ishmael Adan, 30, while the third was not identified.

Ndola Central Hospital public relations officer, Sheona Chalimbana said the six were admitted to the hospital with head and limb injuries while one had a deep wound on his stomach.

On Thursday, a Somali, Omar Mohammed Hashi shot dead his chef who demanded his salary arrears.

Holland Kabaso, 30, was shot dead around 11:30 hours at Catchpol Flats on Kopa Road near the town centre.

This sparked protests simultaneously in the town centre, Main Masala, and Ndeke Township where shops owned by Somalis were looted and damaged.

In Masala Township, residents of different age groups looted shops at the Dove Shopping Complex popularly known as Cairo area.

The residents used machetes to break into the shops at Dove Shopping Complex and went away with bales of sugar, containers of cooking oil, and mealie meal.

Police fired teargas canisters, but the rioters were undeterred and used wet pieces of cloth to wipe off the itching substances while they fought running battles with law enforcement officers.

In Ndeke Township, Dayow Halaal Butchery was looted as meat products in the cold room and refrigerators vanished in a space of 10 minutes.

The looters later vented their anger on a mosque where they hauled building materials from the storeroom.

As the residents were looting in Ndeke, the protest spread to the central business district along Chisokone Road where the mob pelted shops belonging to Somalis with mostly stones.

Police were overwhelmed as they ran out of teargas and had to call for reinforcement from Kamfinsa Mobile Unit.

In the town centre, the irate residents smashed windows to a Nissan Sunny and a light truck and broke into another branch of Dayow Butchery where they made off with a variety of products.

The mob also stormed AHM Merchants, Bilan Enterprises, Nadat Enterprises, and Ali Abdi Enterprises.

All the shops in the central business district including Shoprite were forced to close as motorists in panic drove on wrong lanes to escape the rampaging youth while bus and taxis operators suspended their business.

Copperbelt commissioner of police Mary Tembo confirmed the arrest of 18 people who were picked from different riot scenes.

Ms Tembo said the police had asked all the Somalis in Ndeke and other parts of Ndola to lodge at Farah and Sons Garage for their safety. The place was heavily guarded.

"We have run out of tear smokers and we have also called for reinforcement from Kamfinsa because these people are determined to continue looting property belonging to the Somalis," she said.

Abdisalam board member Ibrahim Mohamed said his religious group was against killing of humanity and urged the Somalis to obey the Zambian laws.

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