Zambia Anti-Foreigner Riots Claim 5 Lives as Looting Spreads

  • President Edgar Lungu condemns `acts of murder' during riots
  • Rioting, looting started after suspected ritual killings

Riots in Zambia’s capital spread to other parts of Lusaka on Tuesday as looters ransacked shops owned by immigrants, particularly Rwandans, and the ruling Patriotic Front party said five people may have so far been killed in the attacks.

Residents in low-income areas in the west of the city of about 2.5 million people started looting foreign-owned shops on Monday after bodies were found in what was suspected to be ritual killings. Lusaka-based Radio Phoenix reported that 254 people have been arrested.

“President Edgar Lungu condemned the acts of murder and bemoaned that ritual murders could take place in Zambia,” the ruling party said in a statement on its Facebook page. “The riots have reportedly claimed five lives so far of suspects beaten and burnt to death.”

Rwandans in Lusaka should “be alert and avoid unnecessary risks,” Abel Buhungu, the charge d’affaires at the Rwanda High Commission, said in comments on his Twitter account.

At least six people have been found dead in the west of Lusaka since last month with body parts including hearts, genitals and ears removed. Residents in the Zingalume area burned down a community police station last month in a protest over the murders.

Police are “working around the clock” to end the killings, according to Home Affairs Minister Davies Mwila. Eleven people have been arrested for the ritual murders, Mwila said on Tuesday.

At least 62 shops have been looted in the city, Lusaka-based Q-FM radio reported, citing police spokeswoman Charity Munganga-Chanda. Some of them in Chawama, in the south of Lusaka, were Zambian-owned, the station reported.

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