LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) _ The police commander of the district where the former president of Zambia was shot last week has been suspended.

Nungu Sassasali, the commanding officer in the central province, and his deputy were suspended ``to ensure the smooth realization of the investigation,'' Francis Ndhlovu, Zambia's top police director, said Wednesday.

Kenneth Kaunda, 73, who ruled Zambia from independence in 1964 to multiparty elections in 1991, and Roger Chongwe, an opposition leader, were both wounded Saturday after police violently broke up an opposition rally.

Ndhlovu also confirmed _ for the first time _ that live ammunition was used to attack the rally in the mining town of Kabwe, 90 miles north of the capital, Lusaka.

Chongwe and Kaunda, appearing jointly at a press conference Wednesday, called on supporters to prepare for a civil war that they said President Frederick Chiluba was preparing to launch.

``Our people must devise methods to defend themselves from now on,'' Chongwe said.

The two men said they would seek regional intervention through meetings with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who chairs the security committee of the 12-member Southern African Development Community.

The two politicians, who are allied in a call for civil disobedience against Chiluba's government, also urged donors to suspend $450 million in aid to pressure the government.

Vice President Godfrey Miyanda denied charges that Chiluba was behind the shootings.

``That was a clumsy way of assassinating somebody,'' Miyanda said. ``If I wanted to assassinate him, why disperse the crowd first?''