Four arrested over Mangochi shooting incident

About four people have been arrested in connection with the shooting that took place in the eastern resort district of Mangochi following disagreements between the forest officials and members of the Seventhday Apostolic Church.

For so many years, members of the Seventhday Apostolic Church have been occupying Chakulamawamba Forest Reserve situated few Kilometers away from Mangochi Boma.

The encroachers have been making chairs from the forest and selling at the town.

However, last year, unverified reports emerged that people especially women who were going to the forest were missing mysteriously.

Muslims outside courtroom

It is when the forest and wildlife officials decided to evict all encroachers as one away of curbing the problem.

So, despite being warned for so many times, the Apostolic didn’t want to adhere to the request and again on Wednesday this week the officials told them to leave the forest but they refused.

This forced the game rangers to use force to evict them, the incident which left one dead and eight others seriously injured as the live bullets were used.

Among the shot, are pupils who were coming from school.

An eye witness told Nyasa Times that the pupils met their fate when they were coming from school when they passed by the forest to see what is happening after hearing the commotion.

But the incident happened when the Muslims who were at the Magistrate court in solidarity with their friends answering charges of breach of peace after being accused of chasing a pork seller from Mangochi market joined the group which were protesting the shooting of people including pupils by Chapalamawamba Forest Reserve game rangers.

They took to the streets, breaking into People’s Metro shop, Hot Pot Lodge among other places forcing the business in Mangochi to come to a standstill.

One of the victims, identified as Peter Yusuf Muba, aged 12, died on Wednesday on his way to Zomba Central Hospital and he was laid to rest on Thursday at his home village Thundu.

On Thursday, Police in Mangochi arrested four people – forest officials – in connection with the shooting.

Police Public Relations Officer Inspector Rodrick Maida has confirmed the development, saying the suspects are being detained at Mangochi Police for interrogation.

Chairperson of MAM in Mangochi, Adam Imran Suwedi, has since distanced the Muslim community from the damage and theft.

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