Malawi Police in Nathenje have arrested 12 community members around Nathenje for allegedly causing riots that led to the damaging of property at Nathenje Trading Centre in Lilongwe Sunday morning.
Central Regional Police Spokesperson, Supt. Nolliettie Chihana, confirmed the arrests adding that the police were still looking for the group’s ring-leader (name withheld), who is reportedly on the run.
According to Chihana, the Sunday fracas ensued following unfounded rumours that the police at Nathenje were keeping a man who was believed to have died long before but had resurrected.
Community members from Phata Village, Traditional Authority Chadza, where the said resurrected man reportedly hailed from, stormed Nathenje Police demanding release of the said man but, according to Chihana, the police had nobody in their custody answering to the said description.
“Police officers who were on duty at that time tried to convince the community members and they even took Group Village Headman Chakwawa, who was among the community members, to the cells for him to identify the said man if he was in there,” she explained.
Chihana said even after failing to identify the said man, Chakwawa and his subjects allegedly went into a rage and started attacking the police using stones and other objects.
“The irate community blocked M1 Road and went on smashing and looting vehicles,” she explained, adding, “They also broke Government offices and other private buildings around the Trading Centre – was total chaos and the police had to use teargas to disperse them.”
The Police are still hunting for the group’s ring leader to answer the charge of Inciting Violence while the 12 suspects in custody will appear before court to answer charges of Malicious Damage when police enquiries are completed, according to the Central Region Police Spokesperson.