LILIAN CHIKANDI writes
RESIDENTS of Chiefs Sikoongo and Chipepo chiefdoms in the Gwembe Valley, yesterday fought running battles resulting in the death of 70 year-old Headman Ephraim Tambale after being severely beaten by some angry villagers.
Another man, identified as Derrick Moonga, aged 35, of Lusitu Ward, in Chirundu District, also sustained injuries during the same fracas and is currently admitted to Mtendere Mission Hospital where he is receiving treatment.
Chirundu District Commissioner Alfred Hamunjo confirmed the incident and described it as regrettable.
Mr Hamunjo assured the police would remain vigilant and ensure that sanity is restored to the area.
The headman died after an angry mob of villagers from Sikoongo chiefdom, who went to dig a grave for the late Kizwel Chiyota, of the same chiefdom, severely beat him when he attempted to stop them from burying the deceased in that area saying he did not come from there.
A free for all fight then erupted between the villagers from the Sikoongo and Chipepo chiefdoms, with stones and sticks being used in the combat.
During the fracas, the people from Sikoongo chiefdom also burnt drums belonging to the people of Chipepo chiefdom.
Meanwhile, Chief Chipepo has regretted the development which he said happened because he did not allow the late Mr Chiyota to be buried at his farm situated in his chiefdom.
Chief Chipepo explained that Mr Chiyota was not supposed to be buried in the Chipepo chiefdom because he was from the neighbouring Sikoongo chiefdom.
Chief chipepo said the subjects engaged in the fight because they perceived his decision to be wrong.
But the Sikoongo chiefdom has distanced itself from the fracas which resulted in the death of Headman Tambale saying there was no person from the chiefdom involved in the fight.
Sikoongo chiefdom secretary, Mr Jethro Mandeva, said it was impossible to accuse his subjects of being involved in the fracas because at the time the fight took place there were mourners from all over Chirundu and one could not tell where they specifically came from.
The late Chiyota, who hailed from Chief Chipepo’s area, lived in Chirundu town but also owned a farm at Tambale Village in Chief Sikoongo’s area.