PATRIOTIC Front (PF) cadres armed with pangas, planks axe handles and other crude weapons yesterday raided Buseko market demanding levies from marketeers but quick action by the police prevented the situation from degenerating into violent clashes.
But three traders were severely assaulted after they refused to pay Buseko market PF chairperson Ayeta Bwalya market levy and police have since launched a manhunt for him and other suspects.
Mr Bwalya descended on the three marketeers after they disregarded his orders to pay levies to him.
In ensuing confusion, a PF unregistered Toyota Noah which Mr Bwalya was driving had its windscreen shattered while its tyres were punctured.
After assaulting the marketeers, Mr Bwalya and his group dragged them to Matero police station where they alleged that the marketeers smashed his car.
The incident, which grounded business to a halt at the market, happened around 08:30 hours.
Police assistant spokesperson Esther Katongo said the police refused to arrest and charge the injured traders because it was established that they were innocent and did not commit an offence.
“The men are badly beaten and we gave them medical reports so that they could receive treatment,” she said. The victims of the assault also had their market stalls destroyed and threatened to burn the stalls after reporting the victims to Matero police station.
By the time PF cadres armed with pangas planks, handles of axes and other crude weapons returned, police officers had arrived at the scene around 11:00 hours.
The armed and marauding youths dared the police officers who had arrived at the market and it was feared that there was going to be a showdown. As that was about to happen, four more land cruisers and one truck with riot police officers raced from the opposite direction towards the scene, making the cadres to retreat and scamper. After the police left one of the cadres was spotted advising some traders that they should secure their charcoal and other merchandise because the cadres would go back to set fire on the market stalls.
Earlier, an eyewitness only identified as Collins said Mr Bwalya faced resistance from the traders when he went to collect money from them which angered him.Another trader said Mr Bwalya not collect money from traders because he had no capacity to improve sanitation at the market.