Soldiers put on alert as Barotse secessionist try to release prisoners

Police and Mongu residents in Western province today fought running battles for close to two hours, the Watchdog understands.

The battle erupted when members of the Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) attempted to release prisoners in the town by force.

The BFM is advocating for secession of Western province, which they call Barotseland, from Zambia. They claim that the 1964 Barotseland agreement has been abrogated.

Police were called in quickly and engaged the secessionists who fled. It is not yet clear if any of them has been arrested.

On Saturday, Charles Milupi, a politician who hails from Western province, escaped lynching by the BFM members who were incensed by his singing of the Zambia nation anthem before addressing a rally.

The BFM has banned all symbols of the state  such as flying the flag and singing the national anthem in Western province.

It is not clear what the BFM wanted to achieve by releasing prisoners but there are reports on the ground that the BFM is preparing for something massive.

There are also reports that the Zambia army in Western province has been put on high alert. Soldiers from barracks in other parts of the country have been moved to Barracks in the province.

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