A TWENTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD woman of Maamba has been gruesomely murdered in what is suspected to be a ritual killing in which the victim’s private parts and part of her left breast were removed.
The woman had gone missing two weeks ago and her body was only discovered on Monday dumped in a septic tank.
The murder yesterday sparked a riot among the residents who in the process injured four Police officers, assaulted a ZANIS journalist and looted the District Commissioner’s house.
More than 60 residents of Maamba in Sinazongwe District have since been arrested for riotous behaviour and causing malicious damage to property.
Southern Province Commissioner of Police Charity Katanga, who confirmed the incident, identified the victim as Carol Mweemba of Old Ground in Maamba.
Ms Katanga said four of her officers were injured and that the situation in the area was still volatile.
She said during the fracas, one officer identified as Inspector Kambalembale was seriously injured.
“When the residents went to collect the body from the mortuary at Maamba Hospital in the morning yesterday, they decided to mobilise themselves and started rioting,” Ms Katanga said.
Sources said the residents were angered after learning that Police had released a suspect who was seen quarreling with Carol before she died.
They suspected that he was the one who had killed her.
The sources also said apart from the private parts, the victim’s left breast was sliced off by her assailants.
Ms Katanga said the residents damaged Maamba Police Station and four motor vehicles belonging to various Police stations, while the house belonging to the suspect was burnt.
She said three Police officers’ houses were also damaged.
The irate residents looted property from Sinazongwe District Commissioner Dodo Sindaza’s residence as they sought an audience with him.
A ZANIS reporter was caught up in the confusion and sustained cuts on the face while he was filming the riot.
Police said the riot started around 06:00 hours when the residents attacked Mr Kambalembale who had accompanied a pathologist identified as a Dr Phalas to carry out a postmortem.
Police, however, managed to move in swiftly and arrested 63 people of whom 49 were males and the rest were females.
Mr Sindaza said the angry residents who carried different weapons ran amok and brought business in the coal mining district to a standstill.
He said the schools and the road leading to Maamba Collieries were closed.
“The residents got angry when they heard that a man only identified as Mr Kandanda who was picked up as the first suspect was later released,” he said.
Mr Sindaza said some residents went to seek an audience with him at his residence on Tuesday around 21:00 hours but he sensed danger and fled before they arrived.
“Although they wanted to seek an audience with me, I quickly sensed danger and we left the house but they entered my house and got away with some of my household goods,” he said.