LUSAKA, Sep 22 – Two people were killed Thursday in riots that broke out in Zambia’s Copperbelt province in anger at the slow pace of ballot counting in a tight presidential race, police said.
One person was apparently shot dead and another was hit and killed by a mini-bus while running in the riots, police said.
“Late in the afternoon we were told that one person was killed by a vehicle as they were rushing, moving from one place to the other,” provincial police chief Martin Malama told AFP.
“We are investigating the cause of death in the second case, where it’s reported that one other person has been shot. We are trying establish this and I cannot intelligently discuss the subject until a post-mortem is done,” he said.
Police used teargas and water cannons to break up the crowds who stoned cars and government buildings in the mining towns of Kitwe and Ndola, Malama said. A market was also burned to the ground in Kitwe.
“Talking to them would not help, and therefore police were left with no option but to use minimum force,” he said.
President Rupiah Banda and opposition leader Michael Sata were locked in a tight race for president that was marred by rioting on election day.
About three-fourths of the 150 constituencies have reported results, giving Sata 44 percent of the vote to Banda’s 36 percent.