Pubdate: Sun, 22 Mar 2015
Source: Zambia Daily Mail (Zambia)
Copyright: 2015 Zambia Daily Mail
Author: Christine Chisha


VILLAGERS in Mpulungu are living in fear for their lives from a group 
of young men terrorising them after smoking marijuana.

Northern Province minister Freedom Sikazwe disclosed in an interview 
with the Sunday Mail that a group of young men in Mpulungu meets 
every morning to smoke the highly potent drug before terrorising 
innocent villagers.

The minister has attributed the increase of murder cases and 
lawlessness in the district and other parts of the province to drug 
abuse, particularly of marijuana by youths.

Mr Sikazwe said youths murder people for no reason, rape young girls 
and pregnant women and make unnecessary demands for food.

He said it is in Northern Province where men kill their parents over 
nshima or murder people on suspicions of adultery.

The minister has since appealed to the Zambia Police Service and the 
Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to intensify their operations in 
the province and help curb lawlessness.

"It will be very helpful for the police to work with the DEC to 
arrest the dagga-smokers before the situation gets out of control. 
The villagers are living in fear because the dagga-smokers harass 
them at any time," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sikazwe has bemoaned high teenage pregnancies and early 
marriages in the province.

"It is heart-breaking when you visit hospitals and find girls as 
young as 13 years in the labour ward," Mr Sikazwe said.

The minister said stakeholders have been forced to form committees at 
village level to help curb teenage pregnancies and early marriages.

Mr Sikazwe said the visit by First Lady Esther Lungu last month 
exposed a lot of gaps to be filled by Government and their partners 
to curb early marriages.

He appealed to non-governmental organisations to help sensitise the 
communities on the benefits of education for the girl child.
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