A 47-YEAR-OLD man of Shikafwa village in Namwala has been shot dead by unknown people at his house, as murders on witchcraft suspicion in rural areas surge. Southern Province assistant commissioner of police Patson Mukomongo has confirmed the latest incident.
The incident which occurred on Monday evening, comes barely a week after chief Singani’s father was shot and injured by unknown people at his house in Choma.
Mr Mukomongo identified the deceased as Shakopa Shombe was killed around 20:00 hours a few metres from his house.
Police suspect foul play.
“The deceased heard sounds behind his yard and when he went to check, his three wives heard two gun shots…When his son went to check what was happening, he found his father lying in a pool of blood,” Mr Mukomongo said.
He said relatives of the deceased were picked by police for questioning.
Police say over 40 people have been shot dead in Southern Province in the last five years and the reasons mainly border on allegations that they have been practicing witchcraft.
Chairperson of the Southern Province Foundation of Chiefs, Chief Chikanta has called for an end to the senseless killings.
Speaking in Choma on Tuesday during a chiefs’ workshop on maternal health, the chief expressed concern with the escalating cases of people being murdered over land disputes and for allegedly practicing witchcraft.
“There are a lot of killings by shooting. It started with my chief, but it is now spreading to other chiefdoms. From the time the shootings begun, no one has been arrested or jailed for murder. So people are not afraid to shot at anyone on mere suspicion,” the traditional leader informed Southern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu at the workshop.
Chief Chikanta said police should work closely with traditional leaders to stop the senseless killings.
“We need to properly coordinate and strategise on how to end these shootings or else next it will be one of us (chiefs) who will be shot,” he said.
And chief Sinazongwe has called on police to investigate the alleged manufacturing of home-made guns by villagers in his district.
Speaking in the same meeting, chief Sinazongwe, said police have not shown interest in investigating the killing of innocent people. He said his chiefdom has a factory for home-made guns which are being used to commit crime.
“We have traditional factories which are producing guns. They are making these guns right in the villages, but there is no follow-up by police” he said.
And Mr Mubukwanu said the shooting incidences and murders therefore are sad and need urgent police attention.