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Kanganja steps into ‘soldier killing’ case

KANGANJA

KELVIN MBEWE & PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
POLICE have set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the death of a Zambia Air Force (ZAF) soldier who was allegedly killed while in police custody after being brutally beaten by inmates.
Inspector-General of Police Kakoma Kanganja said in Lusaka yesterday that the law would take its course once the murderers of 34-year-old Mark Choongwa are identified.
Mr Kakoma said this in an interview yesterday.
“It’s very unfortunate that it happened that way. I can assure you as Inspector-General of Police that no stone will be left unturned. If the police officers are involved, I will not protect anyone,” he said.
Mr Kanganja said the investigators would be independent police officers.
“We are friendly forces with ZAF. That is why we are working in collaboration to get to the bottom of this matter and the nation will be informed as soon as investigations are concluded,” he said.
He urged Zambians to avoid believing unverified information doing the rounds on social media because of its potential to mislead them.
Sergeant Choongwa is believed to have been battered to death by other inmates in a cell at Woodlands Police Station in Lusaka after he was locked up for allegedly assaulting a police officer.
Lusaka Province commissioner of police Nelson Phiri said on Sunday the soldier had picked up a fight where he had been drinking in Nyumba Yanga after allegedly scratching another person’s vehicle as he was reversing his.
Mr Phiri said Sgt Choongwa was transferred to Woodlands Police Station, where he, however, refused to co-operate with officers on duty who charged and detained him.
“He picked a quarrel with one of the inmates in the cell. He was beaten badly and died upon arrival at the University Teaching Hospital. We have charged the inmates with murder,” he said.
But Sgt Choongwa’s family has demanded clear answers because it believes their relative was beaten by police for allegedly being pompous.
Yesterday, his family declined to comment on the matter complaining that the Daily Mail should not have published the police’s side of the story.
And the Human Rights Commission (HRC) has instituted investigations into the death of Sgt Choongwa.
Spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya said the commission is keenly following the media statements from both the Zambia Police Service and the relatives of the soldier and is conducting its own independent investigations to come up with its findings and recommendations on the matter.


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