Police invaded the popolous Ndirande Township on Tuesday to arrest illegal fuel sellers after Nyasa Times report over the weekend that exposed the police laxity in combating the crime.
State broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation reported that several police officers were deployed to the township to arrest the illegal traders and managed to do so with over 10 arrests.
Some sources in the police said the operation was prompted after the Nyasa Timesstory because it demeaned their capabilities and exposed the corruption in the fuel business.
The earlier report said some police officers collect money from some fuel traders to exempt them from arrests.
“Police in Ndirande know exactly where fuel is sold but they do not arrest such people. Instead they go and collect K1 500 from every trader and leave them. It is hot business for them,” one trader who was once arrested said.
The country is suffering from a worse ever fuel shortage. The commodity has since been hiked by more than 30 percent according to authorities.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) said in a statement that the new prices were made “in order to cover the rising costs of importation for petroleum products.”
Fuel shortages in this poor southern African nation were one of the reasons that led to the July anti-government demonstrations, when 19 people were killed by police.