JOURNALIST INJURED AS IRATE BUS OPERATORS CAUSE FRACAS

JOURNALIST from Diamond TV Charlotte Sichunda yesterday suffered a cut on her face and was rushed to Ndola Teaching Hospital (NTH) after bus operators at Mulungushi station in Ndola fought running battles with police after they rioted over the recently reduced bus fares announced by the Road Transport Safety Agency (RTSA).

The irate bus operators got incensed and started throwing stones after Transport and Logistics Minister Frank Tayali decided to meet some members of the executive committee in a closed meeting instead of addressing them outside where everyone could listen to what he was saying.

During the riot, a flying stone landed on Diamond TV Journalist Charlotte Sichunda who sustained a serious wound on her face and was rushed to Ndola Teaching Hospital where she was admitted and had four stitches before she was discharged.

Copperbelt Police Commissioner Sharon Cheelo Zulu could not be reached for a comment as her phone went unanswered, but eyewitnesses who included some bus operators told the Daily Nation that the bus operators fought running battles with police after they protested over the recently reduced bus fares as announced by the RTSA.

Mr Webby Chilikwela said Mr Tayali who was earlier booed by the bus operators when he arrived to address them, decided to meet some members of the executive in a closed meeting, a decision which angered the general membership of the bus operators who wanted to be addressed in an open place.

Mr Chilikwela said the refusal by the minister to address the bus operators in an open place and insisted for a closed-door meeting angered the bus operators who started throwing stones in a building where the meeting was being held and unfortunately a flying stone injured a Diamond TV Journalist

“When the minister arrived, he did not come out of the vehicle, and someone had to go and tell him to come out and address the bus operators. When he came out, he was booed by the bus operators before he decided that the meeting be held behind closed doors, but the bus operators refused demanding that it should be held in the open.

“However, Mr Tayali went ahead with a closed-door meeting much to the displeasure of the crowd which included bus operators, Commuters and call boys and reacted by throwing stones, Mr Chilikwela said After the meeting with the bus operators, Mr Tayali instructed the RTSA to review the new bus fares.

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