Zambia sent soldiers to suppress a wave of attacks on civilians by gangs that use special gas to immobilize their victims.
"The president has ordered the army to be on the streets," Vice President Inonge Wina told lawmakers on Friday during parliamentary question time in the capital, Lusaka.
The action to send the armed forces to the streets came after the attacks caused panic riots, the lynching of three alleged attackers on Thursday and a Attention of the United States Embassy.
Criminal gangs spray a gas that makes their targets dizzy before attacking, according to local media reports.
"We cannot continue to see people being terrified," said Wina.
"These are crimes of terrorists to which the state must respond in an appropriate manner to the crimes of terrorists. They are designed to make the country ungovernable and we will find the culprits," she said.
The police said they are investigating "incidences of malicious administration of chemical substance on innocent citizens by criminals".
& # 39; Powered by fake news & # 39;
The vice president said the attacks, which initially started in the northern Copperbelt region before spreading to Lusaka, were fueled by fake news being sold on social media.
"Gassing innocent Zambians is a very non-Zambian phenomenon and is being fueled by social media," she said.
At least six Facebook posts regarding the alleged incidents have been shared hundreds of times and viewed thousands more in the past few days, according to the AFP news agency.
The details of the messages vary, from complaints of surveillance attacks against alleged authors to the use of old images taken from unrelated online reports.
The attacks prompted the US embassy in Lusaka to issue a security alert.
"Rumors of ritualistic murders and residential gassing have led to incidents of civil unrest and vigilant justice in several provinces across the country," the statement said in a warning issued on Thursday.
"Reports of riots and civil unrest are increasing in some provinces, including Lusaka."