Police reinforcements were deployed in the district to calm residents who torched shops belonging to a businessman of Indian origin whom they accused of being linked to the murder.
Acting President Edgar Lungu, who is also Home Affairs minister, confirmed the disturbances in an interview yesterday.
The rape and murder of Naomi Zulu, who was a student at Katete Day Secondary School, sparked an outrage in a normally ‘serene’ district.
Eastern Province commissioner of Police Grace Chipalila confirmed the arrests.
The rioters, armed with stones, fought with riot police for over three hours until more officers from Chipata arrived around 11:00 hours in the morning.
Business ground to a halt in the district with Government offices closing prematurely for fear of the rioters venting their anger on civil servants.
The mob hurled stones at law enforcement officers and one policeman was injured and hospitalised.
The rioters burnt two shops, including Kayson’s Wholesalers owned by a businessman of Asian origin, and Mr Paris, which belongs to Alex Banda.
“The police are on the ground to ensure that the situation does not get out of control. A suspect is already in police custody. Katete residents felt there has been a delay in bringing the suspects to book,” he said.
Lungu said calm has returned to Katete following the deployment of more police officers.
Police commissioner Ms Chipalila, who was still on the ground by press time, said police were still combing nearby townships where looters are suspected to have hidden the goods looted from the two shops.
“We are in Chibolya, where we have recovered some looted goods but I can confirm that calm has returned to Katete,” she said.
Katete district commissioner Peter Kaisa regretted the riotous behaviour by the residents.