POLICE in Mongu have charged 54 people accused of pushing for the secession of Western province from Zambia with treason.
The ‘dissidents’ were initially charged with seditious practices and possession of seditious materials, which has been substituted with treason.
Western province commissioner of police Lombe Kamukoshi, who confirmed this in an interview from Mongu yesterday said the police consulted the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.
The number of suspects has risen from 47 to 54 following the arrest of seven more suspects in Kalabo and Sesheke on Thursday and Friday last week.
Two weeks ago, the suspects staged a protest after police thwarted their move to hoist a flag. They swore in the “administrator-general” Afumba Mombotwa who is still on the run.
“We have charged all the suspects with treason after we consulted the DPP. We have revised the charge,” she said.
Ms Kamukoshi said police received fresh instructions from the DPP to charge the suspects with treason.
She said all the suspects will appear in court on September 3, 2013.
On the seven suspects who were arrested between Thursday and Friday, Ms Kamukoshi said four were arrested in Sesheke and three in Kalabo.
Among those arrested is publicity secretary of the Linyungandambo association in Sesheke Alick Mahongo, 36.
Others who were arrested in Sesheke are Oliver Songa, 34, Chunga Suba, 21, and Enock Sindoyi, 23.
From Kalabo, Nosiku Liamba, 33, an employee of African Parks, Cliff Mumbula Mutukwa, 41 and Simasiku Walubita, 50 were arrested.
She said Mahongo, who was hiding at the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church camp meeting in Sesheke, was found with seditious material.
“We picked him [Kaliki Mahongo] from the SDA camp with seditious material and an identity card for the Linyungandambo group,” she said.
Ms Kamukoshi said Liamba had been on the police wanted list for a long time on offences related to the activities of the Linyungandambo.
Recently, Western province permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba warned that government was monitoring the “big fish” connected to Barotseland who are operating websites and generating seditious materials and that the net will soon close in on them.