Irate Malawi Muslims yet to return state broadcaster equipment

The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) is yet to redeem its camera which was seized over the weekend by angry Muslims of Mangochi sub mosque.

The Muslims confiscated the camera belonging MBC Television last Saturday after the state broadcaster’s journalists from Mangochi studios allegedly entered the mosque and started shooting prayers without permission from authorities.

The journalists alleged the recording was meant for a documentary they were producing, an explanation which did not convince the Muslims and forced them to act wildly.

One of the senior sheikhs at Mangochi Town sub mosque, Sharif Chileka, said the irate members of mosque who seized the camera were yet to surrender it as they still suspect the MBC crew had evil purposes for shooting their mid-day prayers besides wanting the footage for official purposes.

Ministers Matola (L) and Jooma in prayer fracas

Ministers Matola (L) and Jooma in prayer fracas

It was widely reported that two cabinet ministers had asked the journalists to shoot the video to send to the Islamic nations in the Middle East to get funds to finance their campaigns ahead of next year’s tripartite elections.

The two ministers, who are also parliamentarians from the Muslim dominated  district, are Ralph Jooma of Economic Planning and Development and Ibrahim Matola of Energy.

On the day of the incident, the cabinet ministers and their bodyguards were also reportedly whipped by the irate Muslims when they tried to use their powers to dictate to them what to do.

While the MBC TV crew insisted it asked for permission, the mosque authorities said they were not aware of any arrangement to that effect by the team.

“I was personally not approached by the guys. We were completely ignorant of their programme which raised our eye brows,” Chileka said in an interview.

Trouble erupted when more people converged at the mosque for the prayers where senior members started wondering how the MBC team could start shooting without prior notice.

Within few minutes, some overzealous young men demanded an explanation from the two MBC journalists before snatching their gadget away from them.

A cameraman who was shooting the purported documentary also confirmed he was yet to get the camera as it was still in the custody of the mosque officials.

Mangochi Police Public Relations Officer, Rodrick Maida also confirmed the camera was yet to be returned saying the police had only taken statements from both concerned parties.

“I can confirm that we’ve taken statements from the Muslim community and the MBC personnel. In the meantime, investigations are underway,” Maida said.

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