Lilongwe residents burn Malawi police unit

There was commotion in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Tuesday afternoon when hundreds of irate residents descended on a police unit before setting it on fire.

The incident occurred at the populous Area 25 Township where angry residents demolished a newly opened Nsungwi Police Unit following the arrest of two suspects.

An eyewitness, Chawangawa Mwandira, told Nyasa Times the incident erupted after two armed police officers arrested suspected illegal fuel traders who operate at Area 25 Taxi rank.

“It all started when two police officers picked two men who sell diesel at the taxi rank. The development angered the taxi drivers who mostly benefit from the illegal trade,” he explained.

A police station set on fire last year in Lilongwe
A police station set on fire last year in Lilongwe

Mwandira said after the arrest the taxi drivers mobilized community members and descended on the police unit where they showered stones and other offensive items forcing the officers to flee the place for their dear lives.

There was no immediate comment from Lilongwe Police Spokesperson Ramsey Mshani but our eye witness said as they fled the scene, police officers also set free four suspects who were being kept in cell for committing varied offences.

The officers are also reported to have successfully sneaked with some important office documents including files for cases but the attackers destroyed all the remaining stuff.

“They broke windowpanes, door and frame, wrecked the chairs, desks and anything inside before setting them on fire,” said Mwandira.

Calm returned on the scene some 40 minutes later after three police land-cruisers, loaded with armed riot police, surfaced to maintain peace and order.

This is not the first time villagers have burnt police stations in the Central Region.

A few months ago, Mitundu Police Unit also in Lilongwe was burnt down by angry community members after police reportedly shot dead two people during running battles that erupted following the murder, by armed robbers, of a popular local businessman.

Another police unit was burnt to ashes in Likuni  and Mkanda Police Unit in the central Malawi district of Mchinji  last year by a mob during the July 20 demonstrations.

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