Malawi Police officers at Mkanda Police Unit in Mchinji district are fearing for their lives following persistent threats issued at them by some villagers in the area.
The community members are angry with the law enforcers for arresting seven of their relations and friends who were eventually convicted and sentenced by the court to 13 years jail term two weeks ago.
The seven were convicted in connection with the blazing of Mkanda Police and freeing four “dangerous” suspected criminals early this year, claiming officers at the unit arrested and abused a wrong suspect.
Officers at the unit are now operating under a tree because their burnt down structure is yet to be renovated.
This week, police officers at the unit confessed their families were frightened with the threats from the villagers and have reported the matter to their superiors.
“We have actually been warned to vacate this area [Mkanda Trading Centre] or else we face undisclosed consequences.
“We are concerned with the welfare of our families because some of us are not natives of this place, we came here for work and these threats are really not doing any good to us,” one police officer complained to Nyasa Times on condition of anonymity.
The villagers are reported to have put their foot down saying if the officers do not shut down the unit and vacate the place they will launch revenge unless their seven relatives are freed.
The source, however, said they were still in the area at the mercy of Senior Chief Mkanda who has condemned his subjects’ threats and issued a warning that he would deal with whoever is found to be behind the conduct.
“We have the backing of the Senior Chief. Actually, for me, had it not been for him I would have already evacuated my family. He has cautioned his villagers he would cast them out in his area if found,” he explained.
Mchinji Police Spokesperson Moses Kajawa Nyirenda was not available for comment when Nyasa Times sought his views on the issue.
A group of over 20 villagers stoned the police unit building (and some officers’ houses) before setting it on fire using petrol.
The fracas ensued after police arrested, and took to their office for interrogation, a suspect who was found keeping over 100 litres of petrol in his home.
However, the suspect escaped on the way to the unit and told his friends that police had beaten him up with no reason forcing the mob to invade the unit and cause the mayhem.
Mkanda is one of the busiest trading centres in Mchinji with several illegal activities as it boarders Zambia.
Ironically, the police unit was built by the community members themselves after noting security lapse and the move was one way of reducing crime in the area.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :