Zambians from all walks of life are reacting to the rescuing of 13 young women who were abducted and held in captivity at a house in Lusaka’s Chalala area for months.
13 young women ranging in age from 17 to 28 years, were rescued on Monday after months of being held in captivity in Lusaka’s Chalala area.
Among them was Pamela Chisumpa the 22-year-old Mobile Money Booth operator who had been kidnapped about 6-months ago on Cairo Road.
One of the young women, Agnes Kapwaya a first-year nursing student who had been kidnapped 3 weeks ago risked her life by scaling the wall fence and running to the neighbours house for help.
Scores of Zambians have taken to social media to express their relief over the rescuing of the 13 women by a young man of Chalala and other community members.
Other people have been expressing concern over the operation of the Police in fighting abduction and similar criminal activities.
Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Executive Director Anne Mbewe Anamela has saluted the alert neighbours who helped the young women escape from the captors.
Ms Anamela said NGOCC was pleased to learn that Pamela Chisumpa and twelve (12) others that had been abducted have finally been rescued from the captors who have been holding them hostage for months.
“The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) is pleased to learn that Pamela Chisumpa and twelve (12) others that had been abducted have finally been rescued from the captors who have been holding them hostage. As a women’s movement, we would like to commend and thank the alert neighbours who acted swiftly to help the young women escape from the captors. We are however concerned with the physiological and emotional stress that the young women are going through. We can only imagine the trauma that these young women suffered at the hands of their abductors as evidenced by reports of mistreatment and starvation they were subjected to,” Ms Anamela said.
She called for justice to prevail in the matter.
‘It is clear from the circumstances that the young women suffered various forms of abuse by those criminals that held them hostage. We therefore also demand that the young women undergo a thorough medical examination. While we rejoice at this heartwarming development of their rescue, we are cognizant of the immediate care that the young women will require which should be a combination of medical, psychosocial support and nutritional care. The young women will also require support towards legal representation to ensure that justice is meted on their abductors,” she said.
“NGOCC will therefore actively coordinate a holistic response towards care for the young women to assist their physical, psychological and social recovery from the traumatic experience. We call upon the nation to support the healing of young women. At this point what these young women require is love and emotional support. This episode has just exposed the security situation in our country. The Zambia Police and other security agencies have the responsibility to secure all Zambians. Never again should any Zambian be subjected to such a traumatic experience. We also appeal to the security wings to ensure that they investigate this matter and bring to book all those involved,” Ms Anamela said.
Meanwhile, health expert Dr Aaron Mujajati says the 13 victims urgently need mental health evaluation and therapy.
“The girls that have been rescued from abduction will need mental health evaluation and therapy. The ordeal was mentally traumatic. We suggest that mental health experts be involved as early as possible,” Dr Mujajati said.
Socialist Party President Dr Fred M’membe said Pamela and the other young ladies need a lot of help to stabilize themselves psychologically and socially.
“There’s the relief that Pamela Chisumpa who was abducted in April this year has finally been rescued together with thirteen others. But this relief is accompanied by very sad feelings about and reflections on the pain and humiliation they had to endure. These violent acts have a long-lasting impact. For the families and those abducted, captivity always causes trauma as they often witness or experience humiliation, threats and, in some cases, violence. With growing inequality, unemployment and general economic difficulties, we should brace ourselves for more and more criminal activities of this nature. Pamela and the other young ladies need a lot of help to stabilize themselves psychologically, socially and otherwise,” Dr M’membe said.
Party of National Unity and Progress leader Highview Hamududu said the abduction of people in Zambia must come to an end.
“The rescue of Pamela Chisumpa and others from the captivity of senseless abductors and abusers deserves commendation. Bravo to Agness (the girl who jumped over the fence to call for help) and Robby Chitambo for their heroic roles in the rescue operation and swift response by the Zambia Police at its highest command of Inspector General; that is how it should be. What happened to Pamela and other girls should never be allowed to happen anywhere in our country. We wish the victims quick recovery and full recuperation from the heinous ordeal,” Mr Hamududu stated.
And Public Relations practitioner Topsy Sikalinda has defended the manner in which Police informed the public about the rescuing of the 13 women.
“To begin my article and thoughts, allow me to mention that I support the notion that weapons of mass destruction must not be allowed to be wrong hands. Social media is a weapon of mass destruction if not managed well. The Police yesterday issued a statement and I quote “we have managed to safely rescue Pamela Chisumpa together with thirteen other ladies that were held captive in a house in Chalala area of Lusaka.”The police acted very professionally in line with their mandate to protect the informers, the young man who is being celebrated and all others. The police know that revealing these people is a risk on its own, especially since investigations are ongoing.
Allow me to please all colleagues, friends and all to always ensure that we allow the police to work professionally. We are not crime experts, we want to be seen to be heroes in praising these people who helped but we have now exposed them,” Mr Sikalinda wrote.
“Social media brings about some key fundamentals in individuals such as social affirmation, power of salience, competition of who posts first (sad that even deaths, we want to post first that chitechi has died), Reciprocity and unpredictable rewards. Before we post, always evaluated the outcome, how will all the stakeholders react? In this case, how will the general public react? How will the kidnappers react? How will the police react? Let’s always ensure we think twice before we post some of these issues. The police are smarter than we all think. They are professionals trained to handle crimes. Sad we all become crime experts. Let’s stick to our own lanes. Lastly, the statement by Zambia Police was an excellent Public relations written statement that was 100 ethical and professional,” he stated.
One suspect, in this case, was picked up by Police in Lusaka on Monday.
Two more suspects have been reportedly intercepted by Police in the Sesheke District of the Western Province.