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Restore Copperbelt tranquillity urgently

THE barbaric happenings on the Copperbelt, where criminals are terrorising innocent citizens, by gassing and robbing them is a threat to the regional economy and subsequently the national economy. This is why it is of absolute need to urgently and decisively eliminate this threat.
It is worrying, for all peace-loving residents, that in recent weeks Chingola has been making headlines for all the ugly reasons.
Attacks on residents and counter-attacks on suspects have left many innocent people traumatised, hurt physically and emotionally and some dead.
What is even more saddening is that these attacks have spread to other towns such as Chililabombwe, Kitwe, Mufulira and Lufwanyama.
Hundreds of residents are said to have been affected by the attacks with some ending up in hospital.
Some residents have narrated that they have been visited several times by attackers.
Fear has gripped residents in these towns and life has been affected.
The freedom of movement has been curtailed because of fear of being attacked.
Those who run businesses like shops, for instance, are forced to close early for fear of being attacked if they stay open into the night.
Market traders too are abandoning their stands early to safeguard their lives.
People cannot sleep with peace of mind because they anticipate being attacked any moment, and they are right, going by the happenings.
People can no longer go on with their normal daily activities because of fear.
If this situation continues, it will cripple the economy of a region known to be the country’s cornerstone.
It is common knowledge that with happenings on the Copperbelt, productivity is at its lowest ebb because people’s movements and activities have been curtailed through fear.
The hours people are putting into work have reduced. Many would not want to risk their lives by working late.
Psychologically, many people are traumatised and in that state productivity is suppressed.
It is therefore a matter of urgency that the tranquillity is restored.
We commend the police service for working tirelessly to arrest the situation, in many instances with the support of the residents.
The police have been spending sleepless nights patrolling the affected areas and it looks like their strategies are bearing fruit.
It is a complex battle at hand because of the superstitions around it. There have been claims of culprits turning into cats.
Whatever the situation, the happenings on the Copperbelt must be curtailed completely to allow life to get back to normal.
It is comforting that the police have assured the public that they are closing in and investigations have reached an advanced stage, particularly with the arrest of some suspects who are said to have disclosed others behind the reign of terror.
It is also good that the police are working alongside the military in conducting intelligence surveillance on the Copperbelt which has since been intensified.
While the law enforcement agencies are doing everything possible to arrest the situation, the members of the public also have a role to play.
It is sad that in such situations, some people with skewed minds take advantage to spread fake news.
In such situations there is a lot of information sharing, most of which may be unverified or fake.
Some people, for reasons known to themselves, will cook up stories and share them.
Experience, unfortunately, has it that lies tend to spread faster than the truth.
This is also because we live in a society that easily believes any information shared without prior verification.
The spread of rumours can have devastating effects on society.
Not everything that is being shared is the truth. Some of the information is fake. For instance, there was a video of a ritual killer making confessions to the police making rounds on social media. Those who were watching the video for the first time would easily conclude that it is linked to what is going on currently on the Copperbelt when in actual fact it is an old video.
The public should be sensitive and responsible during such situations to avoid blowing things out of proportion.
Concerted efforts are required from all stakeholders to win this battle against the evil elements that are terrorising innocent citizens.
There is need for thorough investigations to get to the root cause of the problem and a permanent solution should be found.