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THE Bishops Council of Zambia (BCZ) has expressed shock at the beating to death of a Chirundu village headman by residents from another village over a burial site.

Last week, residents of Sikoongo and Chipepo chiefdoms in the Gwembe Valley fought running battles resulting in the death of 70-year-old Headman Ephraim Tambale. He was beaten to death using sticks and stones and videos of the violence have goner viral on social media.

FILE PHOTO: Chief Chipepo

The senior citizen died after being severely beaten by some angry villagers.

In a telephone interview with the Sun, secretary general Abel Kaela said it was unfortunate that the life of a traditional leader had been lost over a mere burial.

Bishop Kaela said the misunderstanding could have been resolved peacefully.
He said in a Christian setup a person could be buried anywhere.
Bishop Kaela appealed to the people of Chipepo and Sikoongo chiefdoms to seek guidance from the Church to resolve their dispute over land in a Christian way.

He said it was regrettable that lives were being lost over matters that could be resolved amicably.
In the violence akin to the brutal xenophobia-driven attacks on foreigners in South Africa recently another man identified as Derrick Moonga, 35, of Lusitu Ward, in Chirundu District, was seriously injured during the same fracas.

He is admitted to Mtendere Mission Hospital where he is receiving treatment.
Headman Tambale 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.

Chief Sikoongo

The grave diggers descended on the old man when he tried to stop them from burying Mr Chiyota in that area because he was from another chiefdom.
Police are investigating the murder and beatings.
Chief Chipepo has appealed to the subjects in the rival chiefdoms to remain calm as police carry out investigations.

Chiefs Chipepo and Sikoongo have been locked in a bitter dispute over the boundary between their chiefdoms for a long time and the matter in court.

Government has deplored the land-related wrangles between chiefdoms belonging to the same tribe in Gwembe Valley, which have already claimed lives and are hampering development.

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