…as he expresses sadness over the conduct of the Police who stormed the Church

By Correspondent
ARMED police officers in riot gear on Sunday surrounded Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ndola to prevent former president Edgar Lungu from attending Holy Mass at the Church.

Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Ephraim Mulenga Mapulanga has confirmed to Radio Icengelo news in Ndola that the church was under siege by officers carrying offensive weapons after word went around that the former president was to attend the 10:30 Mass.

This is contrary to UPND police who claim that they were in the area to monitor the movement of people.

Fr Mapulanga who expressed sadness over the conduct of the police, said the officers who stormed the church, took over the manning of the gate and some parishioners were searched upon entering the church premises while others decided to stay home because of fear.

Fr Mapulanga, who is also the Catholic Diocese of Ndola- Pastoral Director, said the former head of state was not invited by the church but he himself requested to attend Mass.

“The Parish of Holy Trinity – Masala on Sunday, 16th June, 2024 was under siege when a rumour went round that the former head of state Edgar Chagwa Lungu was to attend 10:30 Mass. The drama started unfolding around 09:00 hours when we saw some police officers trooping in and we thought it was just to come and maintain law and order. We were not engaged by the Police, asked or queried or guided on anything,” he said.

Fr. Mapulanga said Christians at Masala Parish worshipped with fear and trauma.

“He was to come not upon invitation but just to attend Mass. The drama intensified toward 10:30 when we saw Land cruiser vehicles packed with police officers trooping in with all sorts of offensive dress, riot gear and other offensive weapons now guarding the Church premises. We were really under siege, the situation was frightening and traumatizing not only to us as clergy but people who didn’t know what was happening,” Fr. Mapulanga continued.

“Heavy police presence attracted attention from onlookers and people in the compound. We celebrated Mass under fear people were really traumatized and it went on around 12:30 when we concluded our last Mass. Meanwhile, people they were waiting for did not even attend Mass at Holy Trinity Parish – Mass,” he said.

Mr. Mapulanga said it was unfortunate that Police took over the Church by force.

“My comment is that police could have engaged our administration to find out what was happening so that we work together and Police being a service they were supposed to render a service to us who were non combatant just to guide us on what was supposed to be done in case the former head of state was coming to join us for Mass. It was unfortunate that we just went under siege without any explanation nor any engagement,” he said.

“When I say the Church was under siege – meaning police took over everything even the manning of gate, they queried and searched Parishioners. Some people went back home without worshipping because they did not know what was happening at the Church,” Fr. Mapulanga concluded.

Meanwhile, Police staged a similar operation at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Hillcrest, Ndola to prevent opposition political party leaders from worshipping.

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