Editor's Comment

Stop the criminals

WHAT started as an isolated case of suspected ritual killing in Chingola has gradually spread to other parts of the country.
This week alone, there has been widespread incidents of gassing in Lufwanyama, parts of North-Western Province, Copperbelt and have now reached Lusaka.
The rate at which they are spreading suggests that the promoters may be well-organised with a very clear purpose although some other rogue elements and unemployed youths have also taken advantage of this situation to perpetrate the criminality.
As a result, a lot of Zambians are getting anxious especially that the attacks are also targeting children in schools. It is a matter that must be quickly and decisively brought to a close to stem public instability and disorder.
It is clear that the gassing is no longer about ritual killing but a calculated move designed to cause instability in the country.
As it were, there has been no ritual murder in all the cases that have triggered chaos. Rumour-mongering on unsubstantiated killings has added fuel to the undeniable cases of people being gassed.
Gassing has compromised peace and disorder in general. People are now living in fear, which has led to anger in most townships, forcing residents to take the law in their own hands. This could lead to the harming of innocent people.
The end result is anarchy.
People suspected of gassing or killing for rituals are being killed by angry mobs instead of being taken to police stations.
While it is understandable that some members of the public think that the police are not doing enough to restore peace and order, it is wrong to take the law into their own hands.
The best for them and the nation is to assist the police to bring the culprits to book. The citizens’ arrests of the suspects is commendable and must be encouraged.
Those apprehended in this manner must be handed over to the appropriate law enforcement authorities, in this case the police.
It is sad, however, that by design or coincidentally, these efforts are also being frustrated. Suspects handed over to the police draw the attention of some unruly members of the public who turn their wrath on the police and public infrastructure.
This is where a strong suspicion arises that the intention is to cause disorder and not necessarily to bring culprits to book. How else would one explain this propensity to torch police posts and stone fire engines that are key to providing the very safety being craved for?
On the other hand, the police should up their game with strategies that would keep them ahead of the suspects as well as those fueling the situation.
It is important, too, that the suspects that have been arrested are quickly prosecuted, hopefully successfully, to give the public that much needed assurance that culprits are being dealt with.
For as long as there are no names and faces put to the tag ‘suspects’, the public will remain skeptical about the reported police progress in their investigations.
We know that the police are keen to resolve this matter because their reputation is at stake but they will need the support of the public. After all, the police and the law-abiding citizens are on the same side in this battle against the criminals.
Any division between them will only give the criminals the advantage to continue their crimes.
As it were, when the citizens pelt law enforcement officers and keep them away from the hotspots, the criminals will have a freer route to the perpetuation of their dastardly deeds.
The criminals should not be allowed to take the upper hand. No matter now clever they may think they are, good should always prevail over evil.

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