Chingola Jerabo king burnt over ‘his’ copper mine

By Staff Reporter


The gang-related violence that erupted in Chingola over ‘illegal’ copper mining territories, out of which two teenage lives were lost, has taken a new twist after a former Jerabo leader was severely set ablaze after he tried to reclaim his ‘mine’.


Sources from Nchanga North Hospital told Newsday Zambia on Saturday that Debra Richie, the former ‘owner ‘ of the high-grade copper-rich Debra Mountain open pit mine, which is at the centre of the fresh outburst of violent gang fights involving West Kopala and All-Stars on one hand and Russian Soldiers on the other, is admitted to the hospital’s ICU.


“As we are speaking, Debra Richie is in the ICU of Nchanga North Hospital. Hope he survives,” the source said. “Debra Richie has been burnt and suffered multiple degrees burns and is admitted here.”


Highly-placed police sources narrated that Debra Richie went back to mine copper at the highly-contested space when the gang led by Mohammed Kapandula a.k.a Tablet warned him and they later went to his house in Maiteneke area and set it on fire.


“Apparently after Sparks’ group scampered in all directions for fear of being blamed for murder, Mohammed Kapandula’s group  descended on the copper-rich mountain and started working on the same, which didn’t go down well with the other  camp,” the source said. “Debra who was once the king of the Jerabos before he was sent to prison organised and went back to mine copper from the same place which angered Tablet.”


The  sources said  Debra Richie was threatened and he reported to Chiwempala Police Station but that they did not listen to him and that he decided to secure his family in view of Tablet’s violent threats against him over Debra Mountain.


“He has two houses one in Chimwemwe  road  in  sub superior area in Maiteneke, near the open pit and the other in Kasompe area. That’s where he took his family because they too would have been burnt in the same house in MAs,” the sources said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter. “It’s widely believed that Kapandula a.k.a Tablet wants to be sole king of the open pit mountain because he is being backed by Kamwefu and some Toyota Boys who are on the run.”


The sources further said some of Tablet’s neighbours have testified that he has safe houses and cabins where he hides members of his gang.


“They want to get rid of Sparks because  he boasts a lot that he mingles with Edgar Lungu,” the sources said. “Apparently, the Corolla which the officer in-charge of Chiwempala Police drives was donated by Tablet. That’s why he is able to boast of having bought the police.”


On Friday, the gang violence was taken to a local cemetery in Chingola during the burial of a female teenager who died in the violence that erupted in the town last Sunday where the warring camps armed with knives and pinch-bars knifed each other on the streets.


The two gang leaders at the centre of the fresh gang-related violence were earlier in the week arrested and charged with assault, to which they both pleaded not guilty.


Tablet and Baba Sparks are scheduled to respectively go back to court on June 13 and 23 for possible commencement of trial.