Zambian ex-minister arrested for 'celebrating' president's death

Zambian ex-minister arrested for 'celebrating' president's death
Zambia's President Michael Sata (2nd L) is welcomed by the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini (R) before officially opening the Zambian Parliament on September 19, 2014 in Lusaka.

LUSAKA - Zambian police on Friday said they had arrested and charged a former government official for celebrating the recent death of President Michael Sata by firing a gun in the air.

"We arrested and charged Guston Sichilima because he fired eight rounds of nine millimetres in the air," Charity Katanga, the police commissioner for Northern Province, told AFP.

"He was charged with the offence of conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace after he fired in the air when we are still mourning our president."

Sata, 77, died on Tuesday while undergoing treatment in London's private King Edward VII hospital for an unspecified illness.

Sichilima had held various deputy ministerial positions in former president Rupiah Banda's government.

He confessed to the charges and police have released him.

"We won't take him to court," Katanga said.

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