THE Human Rights Commission says it is deeply regrettable that police officers who are defenders of human rights have to pay with their own lives in the course of securing the rights of others.
Two police officers were killed in a gun fire that also resulted in the death of two criminals in Ndola yesterday.
The incident happened after four thieves stole K300,000 at Star Bakery in Ndola and were trailed by police.
Copperbelt Province police commissioner Charity Katanga said detective sergeant Ben Chilubula was shot on the shoulder and chest.
She said police reinforced and managed to gun down two out of four criminals but the thieves shot another detective sergeant Francis Kunda and a member of the public in an exchange of fire.
Sergeant Kunda died at the Ndola Teaching Hospital while the member of the public sustained gunshot wounds and is out of danger.
In a statement condemning the killing of two police officers and wounding of a civilian by suspected criminals, commission spokesperson Mwelwa Muleya stated that police officers tirelessly worked to protect property and life of others on a daily basis under difficult and risky situations and must therefore be protected from any form of interference or harm during the course of their duty.
The Commission also wishes to appeal to the government to consider prioritising the procurement of adequate bulletproof jackets or any form of such protective devices for law enforcement officers, particularly those working in sensitive operations such as the anti-robbery squad in order to protect them from criminals,
Police Officers are primary human rights defenders in line with their constitutional mandate and it is deeply regrettable that they have to pay with their own lives in the course of securing the rights of others.
He stated that the Commission deeply commiserates with the Zambia Police Service and the families of the diseased officers.
“The deprivation of the right to life constitutes terminal violation of human rights and must at all cost be prevented as life lost cannot be restored,” Muleya stated.
He urged people to collaborate with law enforcement officers in maintaining public security, law and order in order to promote a conducive environment for enjoyment of human rights.
“It is also important for law enforcement officers to enhance community service policing and work towards identifying individuals in possession of, and abusing, military weapons such as an AK47 assault rifle,” stated Muleya who further urged members of the public to help the police in tracking down the suspected criminals, who were still on the run so that they are brought to book in accordance with the law.