A ZAMBIA Police officer has shot dead a fellow officer while two others are battling for their lives in a bizarre case of mistaken identity after receiving information that suspected armed criminals were spotted in the area. Police spokesperson Esther Katongo said the incident happened around 07 hours yesterday after an officer manning the Chongwe checkpoint, only identified as Inspector Mukoka, allegedly gunned down his fellow officers on suspicion that they were criminals. Ms Katongo explained that four Chipata-based police detectives had gone to Chongwe district with a suspect for investigations in a matter in which they had discovered a firearm and decided to go to Lusaka to apprehend another suspect. “During the time the officers were proceeding to Lusaka, Chalimbana Police received a phone call from a member of the public that there was a group of heavily armed criminals driving from Chongwe to Lusaka, hence alerted Inspector Mukonka at the check point near the Airport roundabout who closed the barrier. “When the police officers from Chipata reached the barrier and found it closed, one officer Detective Sergeant Kapolyo disembarked from the vehicle with a view to finding out whether there were officers at the barrier and when there was no response, he went to open it. It was at that point that Inspector Mukoka opened fire, shooting Sergeant Kapolyo in the chest, mistaking the officers for the criminals he was earlier alerted about,” she said. She explained that the officer fired another shot that grazed Detective Inspector Chimbulu in the neck and the same bullet hit the driver of the vehicle Detective Inspector Banda in the neck who died on the spot. Ms Katongo said Inspector Mukonka was in police custody and that an inquiry has been opened into the tragedy. She told the Daily Nation in a statement that the injured officers have been admitted to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital while the deceased’s body has been deposited in the mortuary of the same hospital.