Zambian Opposition Leader Says Police Tried to Shoot Him

(Bloomberg) -- Hakainde Hichilema, the leader of Zambia’s main opposition party, said police fired live ammunition at him and his supporters Friday.

The incident happened during a political rally in the southwest of the country, his spokesman, Brian Mwiinga, said in a text message. The opposition leader wasn’t hurt, he said. Police didn’t use live ammunition in dispersing an "unruly crowd" in the area and no lives were lost, inspector general Kakoma Kanganja said in a statement Saturday.

“It was shocking, the police just came from nowhere and began discharging live ammunition,” Mwiinga said. “Hichilema’s life is in danger.”

Political tensions between Hichilema’s United Party for National Development have sporadically flared since President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front won disputed elections in 2016. The parties had agreed to a dialogue process to ease strains since Hichilema was arrested for treason in 2017 and held for four months, but talks have been repeatedly delayed.

“We will not tolerate any individuals perpetrating violence,” Kanganja said. “The police will institute an inquiry to bring to book all those that could have perpetuated this violence.”

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