A PLATOON of security personnel has raided the notorious Chibolya Township to crush an illicit drugs cache during a well-planned and executed operation that netted hundreds of suspects.
The team of police and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) officers combed the crime-prone township and arrested hundreds of residents found with cannabis and other drugs in an operation that lasted from midnight on Wednesday to late yesterday.
The operation, led by Lusaka Province Commissioner of Police Lemmy Kajoba, was aimed at ridding Chibolya of illicit activities.
“We want to rid this township of illegal activities and bring sanity,” Mr Kajoba said in a post-raid interview.
Those arrested were taken to Lusaka’s Edwin Imboela Stadium for screening.
Police in riot gear sealed off the township, searched homes and hauled bags full of dagga.
The officers, armed with teargas canisters, batons and rifles, swept through the dreaded “Gazza” street of Chibolya, where they faced minimum resistance under the cover of the night.
With the aid of search lights, the police officers went into targeted homes and seized the drugs.
DEC public relations officer Theresa Katongo told the Daily Mail team which went to the township at 06:00 hours that the operation would be extended to other towns.
In one house, a man in an intoxicated state was found with a 90kg bag full of dagga.
When asked by police about the bag, he said: “I cannot see any bag. You guys must be crazy!”
At dawn, a few residents mobilised themselves and started throwing stones at the officers but the resistance was quickly quelled.
And police razed makeshift structures which were being used for selling illicit drugs.
Mr Kajoba said police sourced two bulldozers from Lusaka City Council (LCC) to raze the structures.
“All the illegal structures which were being used for smoking and trafficking in drugs have been razed. We want sanity in this city,” he said.
A man in his early 20s caused laughter amongst police officers as he was being led to the holding vehicle when he claimed that he is a schoolboy.
“I am innocent, I am a Grade Seven pupil and I was going to school,” said the man, who was not in a school uniform as police shoved him into the vehicle.
He told the police that he was 24 years old and this triggered laughter among the police, who wondered what a man that age would be doing in Grade Seven.
Some residents told the Daily Mail that they were happy that the police had made such a thorough operation.
“The police have really done well to arrest these thugs because when they run out of money, they come here to harass us at this market,” said Jainta Mweemba, a charcoal trader.
Ms Mweemba was proud of the police for the operation.
Motorists in the vicinity cheered each time police led suspects to holding vehicles.
“Boma ni boma,” said Douglas Mulenga, a taxi driver, touting Government’s extensive authority.
“These thugs here thought they were untouchable but today they have felt the weight of boma [authority],” said Mr Mulenga, who briefly abandoned his business to witness the police action, albeit at a safe distance.
Mr Mulenga said the thugs in Chibolya forced motorists to pay “fines” each time they drove through the township.
“This is a lesson that you cannot outwit the government. I hear the cops came in when most of them were asleep and combed through houses,” he said.
Thirteen suspected dangerous criminals escaped from Chibolya Police Post about two weeks ago, days after police had retreated in a battle with residents suspected to be drug dealers.
But in yesterday’s operation, the suspects meekly submitted as police officers bundled them into pick-ups and ferried them to Imboela Stadium for screening.
ZAMBIA DAILY MAIL