FOUR Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officers have been arrested in connection with the drowning of two Nsumbu fishermen on Lake Tanganyika in Nsama District of Northern Province.
Northern Province police chief Mary Chikwanda and Nsama District Commissioner Panji Chilingala confirmed the incident in separate interviews yesterday.
Ms Chikwanda said the four ZAWA officers, whose names have been withheld, were picked up in Mpulungu where they had fled after the unrest that ensued at their camp following the death of the two fishermen.
The quartet was patrolling the protected area of Lake Tanganyika near Crocodile Farm in Kabyolwe area on July 21 when a light flickered from an approaching boat in the distance carrying nine fishermen.
She said the officers decided to fire warning shots which prompted the fishermen to jump out of the boat and in the process the two brothers drowned while their seven colleagues, managed to swim to safety.
"We managed to apprehend the four ZAWA officers from Mpulungu. They are currently in our custody to help with investigations," Ms Chikwanda said in an interview from Kasama yesterday.
She said after retrieving the bodies of the two brothers, their family initially refused to bury them, while other residents of the fishing camp rioted, burning nine houses belonging to ZAWA officers.
Ms Chikwanda said about 30 police officers were sent to the area to quell the riot and that the two brothers had since been buried and a report from the pathologist from Lusaka is being awaited.
"The initial report we got was five houses were burnt but what I am getting now is that the houses were actually nine. Calm has now returned, the situation is under control," she said.
Mr Chilingala, who is Nsama District Commissioner, said it was unfortunate that the fishermen burnt the houses and also appealed to the Zambia Police to set up a permanent post in the area in order to avert further crime.
Mr Chilingala said currently, police officers and other law enforcement agencies only made patrols once every three months, which he said was not enough to curb rampant crime.