ROGERS KALERO writes

MORE than 50 people of Kitwe’s Chamboli Township have been arrested after taking part in a riot which was sparked by a prophecy by a named pastor.

The prophet alleging that a member of the local Community Crime Prevention Unit (CCPU) was involved in witchcraft and was keeping an ilomba (mystical snake) at the unit’s offices at Mogadishu Grounds.

Copperbelt Police Chief Charity Katanga confirmed that 59 people have been arrested and detained in various police stations in Kitwe after they were involved in a riot sparked by a prophesy by a named pastor.

Ms Katanga said in the ensuing riot, 15 vehicles including two belonging to the police were damaged at the CCPU offices after the residents accused the members of the CCPU of hiding the ilomba.

“Yes, I can confirm that there was a riot in Chamboli Township in the morning between 10:00 hours and 11:00 hours after a pastor prophesied that a member of the CCPU is keeping an Ilomba at the CCPU offices.

“The residents went to the CCPU offices, but could not find the Ilomba. Despite not finding the ilomba, the residents became riotous and accused the CCPU members of hiding the charm,” she said

Ms Katanga said it was sad that pastors were making prophesies which  incited or ignited riots or hatred in the communities instead of making those that could help the nation deal with various challenges.

She supported the government move to regulate activities of pastors because some of their actions only served to incite hatred and divisions in communities.

“I now see why Government wants to regulate these pastors. You cannot have a pastor working like a witch-finder accusing people of practicing witchcraft. No, that is not a prophecy. A prophecy is not supposed to incite or spark riots. No.

An ilomba is believed to be a mystical snake created by a sorcerer supernaturally to attack targeted enemies or bring wealth.

Some people say it appears as a regular snake then turns into a normal person but when it sets its mind on any desired target, its head begins to take shape of its creator.

Once fully developed, the ilomba allegedly begins to feed on the bodies of human beings.

Its eyes allegedly paralyse its owner’s chosen victim or victims with fear and bites them, sucks their blood and devours their flesh to double its size.

But many people have dismissed the claims because there has been no tangible proof.

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