Zambia Cholera Deaths Rise as Police Arrest 55 After Riots

Updated on
  • Southern African nation imposed curfew on Lusaka slum
  • Death toll has risen to 70 since outbreak started in October

Lusaka, Zambia.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

Zambian police arrested 55 people after a riot erupted in a slum in the capital that authorities say is the epicenter of a deadly cholera outbreak.

Security forces fired teargas to disperse protesters who burned tires in the Lusaka neighborhood of Kanyama, where authorities closed businesses to try to curb the spread of the disease, police spokeswoman Esther Katongo said by text message. The epidemic has killed 70 people, and the reported number of infections has climbed to 3,077 since the outbreak started in October, Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Kennedy Malama told reporters in Lusaka Friday.

The southern African nation closed markets, schools and colleges at the start of the year and called in the army to help tackle the outbreak. Supermarkets owned by Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. and fast-food shops operating under Shoprite Holdings Ltd.’s Hungry Lion brand had to be closed, but some have since reopened.

One police officer was injured in the riots, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo told reporters. The government will allow the “progressive” reopening of markets in the capital over the next eight to nine days starting Saturday.

Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya imposed a seven-day curfew on Kanyama on Jan. 7 prohibiting people from entering or leaving the area from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to prevent night-time trading. The government has suspended the opening of schools until the end of January because of the outbreak, and closed churches in some of the affected areas.

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