[By Bright Tembo and Christopher Miti]
POLICE in Lusaka have gunned down seven notorious criminals suspected to be foreign nationals in an exchange of fire and have recovered three pistols and one revolver with rounds of ammunition.
Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo confirmed the development that occurred on Thursday December 5, 2019 between 19:00 hours and 20:00 hours in Lusaka’s Makeni Simson area.
She said police received a tip off from members of the public that suspected criminals were about to stage a robbery in the area.
She said after a search in a motor vehicle which the criminals were using, a silver Toyota Ipsum, registration number ALX 8160, police recovered 36 rounds of ammunition of a revolver, two number plates bearing registration numbers AAJ 4317 and ABM 9712, two masks, four reverts, 22 assorted cell phones, assorted foreign currency, among them Chinese, Indian, Zimbabwean, Malawian and Singapore currencies.
She added that the said criminals were suspected to have been behind a spate of aggravated robberies in Lusaka targeting foreign nationals.
The bodies are in UTH mortuary awaiting identification and postmortem.
She has however warned all those planning taking advantage of the festive period to commit offences to reconsider their plans or face the consequences.
She added that in view of the festive period, police officers were on high alert and have intensified patrols on highways and also in communities across the country so as to avert any planned criminal activity and ensure that members of the public celebrate the festivities in a crime free environment.
Katongo further called upon the business community such as shopping malls to enhance security at their business premises, especially car parks so as to protect properties of their clients.
Meanwhile, Petauke police have arrested four suspected dangerous criminals behind several break-ins in Chipata and Petauke districts.
Eastern Province police commissioner Luckson Sakala said the suspects include three Zambians and a Lusaka Burundian.
“One of the suspected dangerous criminals is aged 34 years; a Burundian national of Lusaka. The other one is from Hollywood here in Chipata, he is popularly known as C5 and he is a taxi driver aged 36 years. The other two suspects were at one time detained at Emmasdale Police Station in Lusaka but they escaped from lawful custody. So these have also been apprehended by alert officers from Petauke Police Station,” Sakala said.
He said police also recovered a number of items from the suspects ranging from groceries to the Toyota Corolla which they were using in moving stolen items from place to another.
“Investigations in this issue are ongoing and so far so good; they are cooperating with the police. I hope before the end of the investigations more recoveries are going to be made. From their own confessions, they are saying there were four places here in Chipata where they broke in but a lot of break-ins have been taking place in Petauke. What they have been doing is that once they break in they take the stolen items to Lusaka for market,” Sakala said.
He said the suspects were arrested on Tuesday.