A group of irate Muslims went on rampage in the resort district of Mangochi on Wednesday damaging shops including Metro Peoples Trading Centre and forcing banks to close because one businessman was found selling pork in a market.
Business came to a halt from 11 am until afternoon hours as sections of Muslims took the law into their hands blocking the main road.
The situation went too unbearable and it had to take the police to use tear gas and live bullets to bring sanity to the situation.
“The bone of contention is that one person was found selling pork in the market. The pork was confiscated and the issue went to court. The court was supposed to pass its verdict today,” a Mangochi resident working for one of the civil society organizations told Nyasa Times.
He added: “My family and I and many other people are indoors fearing for their lives. We will get out when the situation is calm.”
Although police used tear gas to quell the situation, the tension went to the Magistrate Court in the afternoon where a ruling on the issue was expected to be delivered.
“After the morning commotion, the afternoon is not better even. People have thronged to the Magistrate Court =. Commotion and tension still remain and the situation is very volatile. Anything can happen in the name of running battles between the irate Muslims and other concerned parties,” said one radio journalist.
Mangochi police spokesperson Rodrick Maida said they had to protect life and property by using tear gas.
Besides the People’s and Metro shops, a wholesale shop trading as Affordable Wholesale was also broken into and money amounting to K500 000 (about $1 250) was reportedly stolen, according to Maida.
But chairperson of MAM in Mangochi, Adam Imran Suwedi, has distanced the Muslim community from the damage and theft.
Maida said the incident started at Maldeco Trading Centre, about 22 kilometres north of Mangochi Boma, where some members of the Muslim community confiscated a pig which a butcher was selling at the market.
The group of Muslims complained that selling port in the predominantly Islamic district would violate their religious rights.
Muslims – who are directed to not eat pork by the Qur’an – and are taking the matter very seriously.
“Our religion expressly forbids us to consume pig meat in any form,” one Moslem told Nyasa Times.
According to one Sheik , police shot some protestors and were rushed to the hospital after getting injured during the fracas.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :