By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
Inspector General of Police Lemy Kajoba says the tendency of undertaking illegalities in the name of ‘jerabos’ must come to an end and will not tolerated.
Last week, police in Mufulira district received a report of criminal trespass in which two juvenile suspects aged 15 and 17 years who were in the company of an unknown number of other criminals forcefully entered the sink hole, a restricted area of Mopani Copper Mine where they conducted illegal mining activities.
Speaking in a statement, Mr Kajoba said his office has observed with concern the growing tendency of criminality amongst youths who are raiding and ransacking mining areas with impunity in the name of caderism with no regard of the law.
“When confronted by police, the group became unruly and began attacking the police officers, which prompted officers to fire warning shots but the group became even more violent and continued charging towards officers, the process, the two juveniles were shot at and sustained bullet wounds on their right legs,” he said.
Mr Kajoba said the two have since been admitted to Ronald Ross Hospital.
He has since sternly warned that the trend must come to an end as the criminal behaviour has no place in the new dawn government.
“There is need for the youth and members of the public in general to respect people’s property because it is a serious criminal offence to ransack legally established property owned by people, illegal mining activities should not be taken as a new normal and as such, those who have a strong urge to undertake mining activities are advised to follow normal channels by legalising their business ventures,” he said.
And Mr Kajoba said his office is fully aware that young people are being used as fronts by those with the financial muscle to interfere with other people’s businesses.
“Police are critically investigating this matter and will soon clump down on the suspects as this trend amounts to conspiracy to commit a crime, If found wanting, they will be charged with appropriate offences. My command will not tolerate a safe haven for criminal minded people to continue committing crime in the guise of caderism. we are more than geared to bring the perpetrators to book,” he said.
Mr Kajoba has further directed the Copperbelt police command to deploy more officers to beef up the current manpower so as to enhance security in the affected mining areas.