Despite Malawian Prison authorities’ continued hiding of information on what has been happening at Zomba Maximum Security Prison since last Sunday, information emerging is that the prison warders shot dead about eight inmates and injured over 20 others.
The situation has been tense at the top-security prison since last Sunday when inmates staged a protest against the pardoning of two inmates, a rapist and murderer, whom they allege were set free because of political connections.
The two were part of the 377 inmates President Joyce Banda pardoned across Malawi last week as part of the country’s 48th independence commemoration.
President Banda said she had rejected 11 names of prisoners put forward to her for consideration because they were rapists.
However, the inmates were surprised to note that a rapist and murderer, who is not supposed to be pardoned, walked to freedom.
The protests resulted in seven inmates escaping from the cells. Four were recaptured same day, two surrendered themselves to the authorities after hiding within the prison walls for two days while the other is believed to have gone.
Since the incident occurred authorities had continued keeping a tight lid on the matter.
On Tuesday they promised to release an official full report on the circumstances Wednesday only to reverse their pledge on the day.
But sources at the prison have confided in Nyasa Times that warders shot dead unconfirmed number inmates on the day of the protests and injured over 23.
“Eight bodies were actually counted. Two were shot dead as they attempted to escape while the rest were shot in their cells for inciting the protests and also challenging the warders,” explained our source.
“The authorities are just concealing the deaths because they have settled not make it public to avoid anarchy.”
She however could not exactly say where the dead bodies had been taken to saying “I am not quite sure of others but four of them were being kept at the Zomba Central Hospital mortuary.”
The source also said some seriously injured prisoners were being treated at the same hospital while others have been transferred to other prisons.
Other reports indicate that warders orchestrated the macabre killings after first ordering the inmates to drink urine of other people killing them right in the cells.
Prisons Spokesperson Evans Phiri has been refusing to say anything on the matter referring reporters to his boss, acting Commissioner of Prisons Kennedy Nkhoma who has equally declined to make an official statement promising to do so later.
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