Security officers in Kaoma have been accused of publicly stripping and torturing up to 17 detainees who tore up copies of the draft Constitution to extract information from them.
The suspects who are incarcerated at Kaoma Prison were at the weekend subjected to torture in unexplained circumstances.
Sources told the Daily Nation that the detainees together with the prisoners were tortured on Saturday by a combined force of the prisons officials and the paramilitary police in an effort to obtain more information from them.
But a prison official denied the allegation saying they only conducted their routine search on the prisoners and not the 17 detainees.
Kaoma prison officer in charge Washington Musanga denied the beating of the detainees and said that they were not part of the team that was being searched.
“Yes we carried out the operation on Saturday morning but we did not search those that tore the constitution because this was meant for the prisoners,” he said
He said during the search, the authorities recovered some knives and others sharp instruments that the prisoners were hiding.
“We had information that they wanted to use those instruments to attack us during the independence celebrations on October 24. I can also confirm that none of the detainees was beaten or searched because they were all outside,” said Musanga.
However, Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) national chairman Nyambe Namushi who visited the prisoners on Sunday confirmed that all the 17 detainees were tortured and beaten.
Mr Namushi said the combined security team of prison officers and paramilitary police ordered the detainees to undress and started beating them without any explanation being offered.
He said that the reports that the officers just carried out a routine search were not true because among the 17detainees, Mr Mulasikwanda Chazele and Limpo Likwenda lost consciousness as a result of the same torture.
He said after gaining consciousness they went to demand that they be given the medical reports and be taken to the hospital for treatment but Kaoma police station officer in charge Rodgers Kiwila refused to issue them with medical reports.
Mr Namushi said he instead took them to the hospital where they were not attended to and this has prompted him to lodge a complaint at the magistrate court.
“It is true these people were tortured on Saturday by a combined team from the prisons and the paramilitary police. I went to prison personally to check and saw the 17 detainees injured and some had serious bruises on their bodies,” he said
After the search was conducted, the detainees were then taken back to their cell where the beating continued,” he said.
Mr Namushi expressed disappointment at the manner the detainees were being treated and called on the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate the matter.
He said there was a lot of injustice more especially on the part of the 17 people that were detained because of tearing the draft constitution.
And the sources said the report given by Mr Musanga was false because the 17 detainees were not out side at the time of the search.
They said this was a combined exercise and no one was excluded because even the juvenile that was arrested because he tore the draft constitution was also tortured.
They said that security officers beat up the prisoners, wounding several of them as they sought more information from the detainees.
A detained member of the Liyungandambo, one of the movements fighting for the secession ofWesternProvincefrom the rest ofZambiatold the Daily Nation that the officers used rubber pipes to beat them up.
He said it was not the first time that they were being harassed in that fashion and described the Saturday incident as “horrorific” as several of them sustained injuries and bruises.
The detainee who spoke on the condition of anonymity said he sustained a seriously bruised leg and needed medical attention.
He said when the detainees asked for medical reports to get medical attention; the prison authority just ignored them despite the fact that some of them had serious wounds.
He said the prison officials had to ask for reinforcement from theZambiapolice in order to carry out the torture exercise.