Malawians have taken up on social media to condemn alleged Malawi Defence Force soldiers who were seen on the social media video beating mercilessly armed charcoal burners in Dzalanyama forest in Lilongwe.
The video clip shows six soldiers stripping naked the helpless charcoal burners, forcing them lie down and beating them on their bare buttocks.
All the alleged soldiers were in Malawi army camouflage uniform with one of them carrying a gun.
One of the soldiers is said telling the charcoal burners that the army works in the forest and could not allow the fast depletion of trees which act as their cover.
Luciano Botomani, Councillor for Bunda Ward in Lilongwe Msinja North Constituency, who is also Vice Chairman for Lilongwe District Council, was amongst the people brutalised by the soldiers.
“It’s true, I was coming from my garden and when I got at Kataira Trading Centre I found soldiers confiscating charcoal. They called me and asked why I allow charcoal to freely pass in my ward to which I said it was not my job.
“They poured water on me, they bathed me in mud, they dabbed my face in ash, and they then lashed me thrice and staked me to a pole just like they did to Jesus on the cross.
“They also tied my left leg and made me stand by the roadside for over an hour so that people should see me,” said Botomani in an extended WhatsApp narration.
Lilongwe District Commissioner, Charles Kalemba, confirmed the incident, saying spoke to top officials in the Malawi Army and “ will sit down next week to see how the issues between the army and community can be resolved.”
Spokesman for MDF Paul Chiphwanya said the army will have to establish the authenticity of the video clip and identify the soldiers before making a comment on the matter.
Dzalanyama forest is fast losing treest due to charcoal sellers and the government deployed the Malawi army soldiers to check the situation after the police failed to control the situation in the watershed area that stretches from Lilongwe to Dedza.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :