Disgruntled Sugar Cane Farmers at Dwangwa in Nkhotakota district have burnt to ashes four Tractors valued at MK12 million and wounded 26 employees of Dwangwa Cane Growers Limited (DCGL) following unresolved disputes over deductions, Nyasa Times has established.
Police at Nkhunga Police Station in Dwangwa have confirmed the development and have since described it as barbaric.
Illovo Sugar Company spokesperson Irene Phalula could not immediately comment.
Meanwhile, Police have intensified patrols in the area in order to curb further violence and further destruction to property
No arrest has been made in connection with the incident as investigations are still underway, according to Sergeant Laban Makalani Public Relations Officer (PRO).
He said the violence that took place on Saturday at Kazilira Sugar Cane Field in the area of Traditional Authority Kanyenda.
“Of the 26 people, seven are nursing serious injuries and are admitted at Matiki Health Centre while one identified as Frackson Huwa was referred to Nkhotakota District Hospital. The rest sustained minor wounds and were treated as outpatients,” Makalani told Nyasa Times.
He said preliminary investigations have revealed that the fracas occurred following protracted wrangles between the farmers and DCGL over deductions of proceeds from Sugar Cane sales which they sell to the company through an Association.
“The over deductions in question are of extension services and farm inputs which DCGL loans to the farmers. But following the wrangle, the farmers pulled out from the association and formed their own independent association and have refused to cooperate with DCGL which wanted to harvest matured sugarcane fields at Kazilira to recoup its loans.
“So on 26th May, 2012, at about 0600hrs, DCGL sent its Cane Cutters to Kazilira. But whilst they were about to begin their job the farmers attacked them using Panga knives, bows and arrows,” the Police Publicist said.