POLICE in Lusaka yesterday clashed with United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres who wanted to force their way into Woodlands Police Station where their leader Hakainde Hichilema was summoned for questioning.
The cadres showered abuse at police officers as they jostled to get in the police premises.
Mr Hichilema was whisked away and only returned after more than an hour for the scheduled interview.
The cadres, who were chanting slogans within the Woodlands shopping complex car park, broke through a police cordon in an attempt to force their way into the police station but were repelled by officers in full riot gear.
Mr Hichilema arrived at Woodlands Police Station at 10:00 hours in the company of his lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Jack Mwiimbu, Marshal Muchende and Martha Mushipe, alongside some cadres who later clashed with the police.
Police recorded a warn-and-caution statement from the opposition leader for alleged false publication of news with intent to cause fear and alarm in the public.
Mr Hichilema’s alleged offence is contrary to Section 67 of Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
The warn and caution is in connection with the statement the UPND president made at a Press briefing held at the party secretariat between January 6 and January 8, this year, where he said the Patriotic Front (PF) had transported militias to Kasama.
Mr Hichilema is further alleged to have stated that the militias were organised and unleashed on Alliance for Better Zambia leader Frank Bwalya.
“Mr Hichilema has been released without charge but investigations into the matter are ongoing,” Zambia Police spokesperson Charity Munganga-Chanda said.
Confusion characterised the process as the slogan-chanting UPND cadres trooped to the police station to render solidarity to their leader but were stopped by riot police.
After the chaos that reigned when he was about to be led into the police station, the UPND leader was whisked away and returned after more than an hour for the interview with the police.
While Mr Hichilema was away, the cadres, who had been kept at a distance by the police, continued showering abuse at the men and women in uniform as others attempted to break into the police station.
Chikankata Member of Parliament Munji Habeenzu was caught up in the confusion and ended up being roughed up before he was identified as a Parliamentarian and led to the safety of the reception area where other UPND top officials were waiting.
Mr Hichilema, who demanded to be interrogated from the reception, complained that his supporters had been beaten up by police officers.
However, Ms Chanda said it was unfortunate that Mr Hichilema was accusing the police of being PF cadres.
She said it was actually the UPND sympathisers who had caused the confusion.