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Zambian police officer charged with killing protesters

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Zambian police fired tear gas. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (ZAMBIA)


Zambian police on Wednesday said they had arrested an officer on murder charges over the deadly shooting of two anti-government protesters in December.

Fanwell Nyundu, 25, is accused of killing the duo as they demonstrated outside a police station where opposition party leader Hakainde Hichilema was being questioned.

“The suspect is in police custody and yet to appear in court,” police spokeswoman Esther Katongo said in a statement.

Nyundu faces two counts of murder.

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Hichilema, known to his supporters by his initials HH, is President Edgar Lungu’s main contender in elections due in August.

He was summoned by police on December 23, 2020 for questioning about a property purchase he made 20 years ago.

Several hundred supporters, including the two victims, milled outside the police station in the capital Lusaka to show their support.

The two men were killed when riot police were sent to break up the protest. Their blood-stained bodies were found lying on the ground after the demonstrators fled.

Police issued a statement shortly after the incident saying the men were reportedly killed by gunfire after tear gas was used to disperse an “unruly” crowd.

Hichilema, however, said it was hit job by “snipers”.

The 58-year-old veteran campaigner and self-made entrepreneur has made five bids for the presidency between 2006 and 2016.

He spent four months in jail after contesting his last defeat in 2016.

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