Malawi Police in Karonga the northern border district on Saturday released two arson suspects who were arrested on Friday evening under duress from the local gang who stormed the station threatening strife.
A gang of angry residents from Group Village Headman Indi in the Traditional Authority Kyungu stormed the Police station demanding the release of the suspects, saying the issue was domestic and should not involve law enforcers. They threatened trouble if the suspects remained on remand.
The police identified the suspects as Village Headman Mbefu 78 and his counsellor Feston Gondwe 70, both from Traditional Authority Kyungu.
They are suspected of being behind the arson of the house of Group Village Headman Zindi in December 2014.
John Gondwe, who is also related to the suspects, told Nyasa Times that their mission of demanding the release of their chief and counsellor at the police station was peaceful and could only result in discord if the law enforcers did not bow to their request.
“We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leaders and we will make sure that we go home together with them because we cannot allow to stay in our villages while they are struggling here for nothing, we will show them that we are united if they insist to keep them,” Gondwe said when he led the gang to police.
Peace restored after the police engaged in dialogue with the group leaders where it is reported that the law enforcers agreed to release the two on bail pending investigations.
Commenting on the development, the District Police Officer in Charge Edward Chingayipe admitted having released the two on Saturday but denied that they were forced to do so.
“It is true that people of Village Headman Mbefu came demanding us to release their chief but we had dialogue with them,” said Chingayipe.
“The two has been given bail because of their advanced age. We will make sure that they appear before court to answer charges of arson and malicious damage,” he added.
In a related development, the village headman Donald in the same area of Traditional Authority Kyungu has been forcibly suspended from his title position of chief by the community after he squandered 170,000 Kwacha of development fund which resulted to the arson of over ten houses on Thursday.
According to the district civic educational officer Christobel Shaba who confirmed the incidents to Nyasa times, the wasted money was contributed by the villagers to use in developmental activities as well as on emergency occasions in their area and was kept within the village.
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