Human Rights Watch called on the Zambian police to launch an immediate and comprehensive investigation into the killing of Major Wezi Kaunda, an important opposition figure of the United National Independence Party (UNIP).

Kaunda was killed on Wednesday night by two gunmen outside of his home and died at 6:00 AM (0400 GMT) the following morning after undergoing emergency surgery. Kaunda and his wife were returning home in his car and had stopped at their front gate where they were confronted by two gunmen. According to a family member, Kaunda got out of his car and offered it to the gunmen. He was then thrown to the ground and shot four times in the stomach, back, and shoulders. His wife escaped the attack unharmed.

"If the Zambian police fail to initiate an immediate and full investigation into the killing of a leading politician, political violence in Zambia is going to continue," said Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director for Africa at Human Rights Watch. "Justice must be served for the immediate victims of this attack, as well as for the entire population of Zambia."

The car of Kaunda's father and the former president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, was attacked in March 1999 in a similar incident. A gunman opened fire on his car as he stopped to enter the grounds of his residence. Although the Lusaka police, as well as its rapid deployment unit, inspected the scene, the police did not publish an official report of the incident.

For more information, please contact:

Alex Vines (London) 44-171-713-1995
Urmi Shah (London) 44-171-713-1995
Jean-Paul Marthoz (Brussels) 322-732-2009
Peter Takirambudde (New York) 212-216-1223
Carroll Bogert (New York) 212-216-1244