A total of 18 people suspected to be linked to a spate of gas attacks in Zambia were killed at the weekend by mob justice, report says.
Different parts of Zambia have over the last two months been grappling with mysterious gas attacks by unknown criminals.
The perpetrators have been targeting homes and schools, spraying their victims with a gas that leaves them unconscious.
A suspect interrogated on video by those who caught him said the attackers wanted to draw blood in syringes from those who had passed out, which many suspect would be used in witchcraft.
President Edgar Lungu last week declared that the country was “under siege, but I am in control” and offered a bounty of $17,000 for information leading to the arrest of culprits.
The public has however been taking the law into its own hands and attacking suspects.
According to report, two suspects were burnt to death with five cases recorded in Kabwe town, Lusaka and Luapula provinces.
Other deaths occurred in Northern, Copperbelt and Eastern provinces, according to Police spokesperson Esther Katongo.
She condemned the mob attacks and said police had arrested 50 people for “idleness and disorderly conduct”.
“These are unruly groupings arming themselves with offensive weapons moving round communities on pretext of patrolling but end up harassing innocent people – of which some have died in instant mob justice,” Ms Katongo said.
The authorities are yet to determine what gas is being used in the attacks.