Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Criminal Gangs Spring Back To Life In Kitwe

By Paul Shalala
Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu addressing residents
of Miseshi last week -Picture by Time Photograpy

Exactly 22 days before the Kitwe High Court rules on the fate of the 18 Tokota Gang members, two other previously unknown gangs have sprung up in Kitwe.

The Unruly and Sokota Gangs have established themselves in the western half of Zambia’s second largest city, terrorizing residents especially at night.

According to some residents, the gangs are involved in a number of burglaries and petty thefts.

At a meeting held recently to sort out the security lapse in the area, residents complained that the local Community Crime Prevention Unit (CCPU), which are a creation of the Zambia Police Service, are not helping.

“We want a neighbourhood watch group comprised energetic people, not these old men in CCPU,” said one resident.

The residents also wondered why Police officers are no longer present at night to conduct patrols in the badly affected areas of Mindolo, Miseshi and D Section.

The meeting later resolved to form two neighbourhood watch groups to be spearheaded by youth leaders Bernard Mwila and Michael Katoma.

The neighbourhood watch communities have been formed under the slogan "The Security of my community is my responsibility."

Despite members of the public knowing the gang members terrorizing their community, they are scared to report them to the Police.

“The sad part is that the members of the community in Miseshi actually know who these criminals are but are scared to disclose their identities. So the challenge I give them is that they should never cry foul if they don't do the noble duty of furnishing information to the security wings,” said Binwell Mpundu, Kitwe District Commissioner.

Mr. Mpundu, who is the head of government in Kitwe and is in charge of all state security agencies in the district, went on to give advise to the community.

“I just want to warn parents who are habouring these criminals that they risk being prosecuted for aiding, abetting or otherwise shielding these criminals or else they have a task to transform their children into responsible citizens before the law visits them.”
Bernard Mwila (in red), one of the Youths to lead the local
neighbourhood watch groups

Last year, fear gripped almost all neighbourhoods in Kitwe as various criminal gangs terrorised this major mining town, raping, beating and stealing from people especially at night.

The gangs such as the Tokota Boys, Sons Of the Devil (SOD), The 100s, (0 Niggas, 70 Niggas, Mbwambwambwa and many others disappeared when the Zambia Police Service launched a vicious crackdown in May 2018.

Dozens of gang members were arrested, prosecuted and a number of them jailed for their criminal activities.

Some of them such the 18 Tokota Boys are awaiting judgement in the High Court next month.

Their arrests brought jubilation in the city but the old days are back as new gangs have taken over territory which other gangs held last year.


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