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DPP enters nolle for 12 gassing suspects

THE State has freed 12 people who were facing 16 terrorism charges on allegations that they were behind the chemical gassing incidents of people’s homes and schools across the country.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has entered a nolle prosequi in favour of the 11 men and male juvenile aged between 15 and 45, of Chikankata, Kafue and Chingola districts in relation to 16 counts of aiding, abetting, conspiracy of terrorist acts and proliferation.

The 12 are: Pheston Mwanza, 45 a farmer of Mulawo settlement in Chikankata, Bright Halwanza, 34 a farmer of Nalwama Village in Chikankanta, Essau Zanene, 35 a farmer of Nega-Nega in Chikankanta, Tom Jabala, 43 a businessman of Kabweze in Kafue and Derrick Mwiinga, 28, a businessman of Chikankanta.

Others are a 16-year-old grade nine pupil of Nalwama in Chikankata, Jabulani Phiri, 41 a farmer of Nega-Nega, Osward Hamalala, 29 a farmer of Chikankata, Charles Mungaila, 32 a farmer of Chikankata, Sydney Hakalinda, 37 a businessman of Nega-Nega, Elijah Mwiinga, 25, a charcoal burner of Kafue and Everisto Hamalala, 33 a fork lifter of Chingola.

When the matter came up before High Court judge Kazimbe Chenda, the 12 suspects denied the charges.

After plea, State advocate Susan Besa told justice Chenda that the DPP has decided to discontinue the proceedings through a nolle prosequi.

Justice Chenda told the accused that proceedings against them were discontinued following the decision by the DPP to enter a nolle prosequi and discharged them forthwith.

The accused were between February 1 and 29 this year alleged to have aided, abetted, concealed, procured, incited or solicited the commission of a terrorist act or proliferation.

It was alleged in the second count that the 12 suspects on the same dates, committed a terrorist act intending to cause death or serious harm to Brenda Tembo when they released dangerous, hazardous, harmful substance, toxic chemical or other toxins in the environment.

In the third count, it was alleged that the 12 on the same dates committed a terrorist act intending to cause death or serious harm to Martha Mazaba by releasing dangerous, hazardous, harmful substance, toxic chemicals among other toxins in their environment.

In the fourth count it was alleged the 12 allegedly committed a terrorist act intending to cause death or serious harm to Emmanuel Lwaisha by releasing dangerous, hazardous, harmful substance, toxic chemicals among other toxins into the environment.

In counts five to 16, the 12 between February 1 and 29, 2020 allegedly committed a terrorist act intending to cause death or serious harm on Emmanuel Lwaisha, Memory Banda, Taonga Banda, Esther Banda, Nathan Phiri, Violent Nyirenda, Anthony Nyirenda, Caroline Zulu, Minson Zulu, Regina Phiri and Memory Banda by releasing dangerous, hazardous, harmful substance, toxic chemicals among other toxins in their environment.

The 12 suspects were represented by Keith Mweemba and Laston Mwanabo.

Over 50 people were killed through mob justice lynching and police shootings following the gassing attacks which began in Chingola late last year and spread across the country.

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