AN off-duty police officer of Mtendere Compound in Lusaka last evening single-handedly faced a rowdy crowd and rescued a man accused of being a thief from being burnt to death.
Constable Nawa Akakandelwa went out of his house in Mtendere C Section around 21:30 hours after hearing commotion in the neighbourhood.
Not far from his house, the plain-clothed officer observed a mob which he learnt had severely beaten a man it suspected of being a thief and had arranged tyres, paper boxes and fuel with which to burn him.
According to witnesses, the yet-to-be identified man had been caught attempting to break into a house whose occupants were not around at the time.
After learning of the murderous intentions of the mob, Akakandelwa forced his way through the crowd and caught hold of the suspect.
He introduced himself as a police officer and advised the mob to instead take the suspect to Mtendere Police Station.
Akakandelwa’s appeal was met with resistance as some in the mob insisted that the suspect was caught red handed and should therefore be burnt.
However, the brave officer who works under Airport Police Division but was off duty stood his ground and reasoned with the mob and in the process won some hearts.
After partially calming the situation, Akakandelwa asked who the complainant was amongst the crowd but no one came forward.
He then contacted his division by phone and asked for backup.
As the the crowd waited for other officers to arrive, some trouble makers began to suggest that officers were just good at protecting criminals and therefore both Akakandelwa and the suspect should be set ablaze.
Akakandelwa however persuaded some of mob members who agreed to take the suspect to Mtendere Police Station on foot.
After about one and half hours engagement with the crowd, Akakandelwa finally managed to get the situation under control and led a group of about 10 youths to walk with the suspect to Mtendere Police Station.
The police station recorded Akakandelwa as the officer who brought in suspect in the Occurrence Book and detained the the suspected thief.