ABOUT 100 houses built on illegally acquired plots in Mindolo North Township in Kitwe have been demolished.
A joint team of State Police and Kitwe City Council (KCC) officers conducted the demolition exercise in the early hours of yesterday on the land earmarked for commercial development on the Kitwe-Chingola road opposite the cemetery.
Meanwhile, confusion reigned as Police and irate residents fought running battles during the demolition exercise that left a number of families homeless.
The demolished structures included already occupied houses and others built up to roof level. An on-the-spot check by the Times around 08:00 hours found scores of affected families stranded with household property strewn around.
The demolition, which started around 04:00 hours, evoked emotions among the residents who could not stand seeing their houses being razed.
Rampaging residents mobilised themselves and launched a counter-attack by throwing stones and a range of other missiles.
In retaliation, Police fired teargas canisters to quell the protest. The Police deployed for the operation were out-numbered and only managed to bring the situation under control after reinforcement.
Kitwe Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga expressed disappointment with the Police for allegedly dispatching an inadequate number of officers who ended up being overpowered.
Copperbelt Police chief, Joyce Kasosa said the council had initially requested for four Police officers but that they were, however, provided with more than that number which again proved not to be enough.
Ms Kasosa said the Police fired teargas because some residents became unruly and tried to block the operation from going ahead.
‘‘The Police were there to ensure security and peace and if you have anyone trying to disturb that, the Police have to do what they did,’’ Ms Kasosa said.
Some affected residents claimed the plots were sold to them by a former councillor and as such condemned the action by the council to demolish the structures without giving them a notice.
Construction works on the plots have been going on for over three years now.
Times of Zambia
Photo Credit – Muvitv