AFRICA/ZAMBIA - "We need to clarify the recent gas attacks, before the worse happens", says the Bishop of Chipita

Monday, 8 June 2020 violence   bishops  

Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - "We cannot wait any longer, in silence, for explanations and appropriate action. If we are to prevent something worse to happen other than the gassing, it is now we have to do something", said His Exc. Mgr. George Cosmas Lungu, Bishop of Chipita and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Zambia.
At the beginning of the year a series of mysterious gas attacks of which the exact composition was not ascertained, caused the death of 50 people in episodes of summary justice against alleged poisoners. "The police recorded at least 50 deaths in 668 cases of attacks and riots, as well as having carried out 566 arrests. The total number of people affected by jets of chemicals is 1,946 and more than 50 people have died due to episodes of summary justice by the angry mob", police chief Kakoma Kanganja said in early March.
The attacks that triggered panic in Zambia have stopped, but "this, however, is not a guarantee that it will not be reignited in the future", underlines Mgr. Lungu, who for this calls for a thorough investigation of what has happened.
"What started as an isolated case in a small location on the Copperbelt sooner than later spread like bush fire to the rest of the country, instilling fear, anarchy and suspicion in the country", recalls the Bishop.
Fear generated violence and summary justice episodes that led to the death of innocent people. "Can anyone who until now hailed Zambians as 'peace loving people' explain why suddenly we became a mob of killers of innocent souls including old people? Why this sudden change?", asked Mgr. Lungu, indicating that terror was wished to throw the Country into chaos. "Why were police posts targeted by communities forcing government to deploy military personnel? Why was it allowed to spread so quickly to other parts of the Country? These are honest questions seeking honest answers which have not been provided with answers so far", he concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 8/6/2020)