After days of xenophobic attacks in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, reports from local media say order has been restored in Lusaka and other neighboring towns and business is back to normal.
In an interview with Voice of America last Thursday, Zambia’s chief government spokesman Chishimba Kambwili said calm has finally returned to the streets of Lusaka. “I can confirm to you that all the towns are now calm and business has gone back to usual,” Mr. Kambwili said.
Xenophobic attacks started on Monday 18 April and targeted foreign shop owners, mainly Rwandans, who were accused of being involved in ritual killings of at least seven people, whose bodies were found mutilated.
At least two people were reportedly burned alive in Lusaka and several foreign-owned shops were looted in the wake of attacks that forced Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu to issue a special order to the military to occupy and restore order to the streets of Lusaka.
According to chief government spokesman Mr. Kambwili, more than 250 people were arrested in connection with the violence and 11 others are assisting the police with investigations into the ritual killings that have rocked Lusaka.
Some people have linked the xenophobic attacks to political incitements, accusing some local politicians of sponsoring youths in Zambia’s capital city to cause chaos.
In the interview with VOA, Mr. Kambwili confirmed that the government is aware of the alleged political incitement, accusing opposition parties of sponsoring violence in order to erode the gains that the Kwacha, Zambia’s currency, has made against international currencies.
Former Zambian president Guy Scott has also issued a statement linking the xenophobic attacks in Zambia to “political discontent”. He said the just-ended violence was a result of citizens feeling like they had no access to primary needs.
Scott also questioned Zambia’s ability to guarantee the security of foreigners living in the country.
So far, 13 Rwandans whose businesses were destroyed in the xenophobic attacks have been flown back to Rwanda.