Zambia Opposition Leader Says He's Detained After Police Raid

  • UPND’s Hichilema doesn’t recognize Edgar Lungu as president
  • Zambia’s Eurobond yields rise after report of raid on house

Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema said he’s being held by police following an overnight raid of his home.

Hichilema’s United Party for National Development said on its Facebook account that police fired teargas as they surrounded his home in Lusaka, the capital. Yields on the country’s dollar debt rose.

“My lips are swollen, my eyes are swollen, my skin is itching,” Hichilema said by phone from Lusaka. He said he hid in a safe room in his house before police flooded it with gas that he couldn’t identify to force him out.

Hichilema has refused to recognize President Edgar Lungu as the leader of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer after a closely fought election in August. The opposition party challenged the outcome in the Constitutional Court, but the petition wasn’t heard after the time given for the case lapsed. Hichilema was arrested in October for unlawful assembly.

Police opened an inquiry into Hichilema and Mwamba following allegations they obstructed Lungu’s motorcade at a traditional ceremony in Western Province over the weekend, the state-owned Zambia Daily Mail reported Tuesday, citing police. The UPND has denied any wrongdoing.

“They want to arrest my president,” Geoffrey Mwamba, the party’s vice president, said in a video posted on the party’s Facebook account. “They are claiming he has committed a treasonable offense. That’s nonsense.”

Yields on Zambia’s $1 billion Eurobonds due April 2024 rose 15 basis points to 8.04 percent by 11:14 a.m. in London.

Police spokeswoman Esther Katongo wasn’t immediately available for comment when called on her mobile phone.

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