The president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, on Sunday said he had deployed the military to curb escalating political violence ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for the 12th of August.
The deployment comes after two supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front party were hacked to death with machetes on Friday by attackers suspected to be members of the main opposition party.
Introducing the Pindula News Mobil App
Download from Google Play Store
Police have said four people were arrested in connection with the killings.
Lungu said he had authorised the military, including the army and air force, to help the police to curb the political violence of the past two days.
He said troops had already been deployed to some areas in the capital Lusaka and would be sent to other areas in the country “if the situation demands so”. He said in a statement:
Maintaining law and order is a daily chore of the police, but sometimes they need help from other security wings.
Lungu said the military would also ensure that the work of the Electoral Commission, which would conduct the polls, was not interfered with.
UPND presidential spokesman Anthony Bwalya said the main opposition grouping, the United Party for National Development, was still studying Lungu’s statement.
The All People’s Congress (APC) party says the move to involve the army is intended to cause “fear and intimidation” among the opposition.
Lungu is running for a second term in the elections.
His main opponent is Hakainde Hichilema who has unsuccessfully contested for the presidency five times.