Police Station torched in Lilongwe, cop in ‘critical condition’

Angry residents of Area 24 in the capital, Lilongwe, on Sunday torched a police station after the security forces fired teargas and assaulted people who went to attend a whistle-stop political meetings of UDF presidential aspirant Atupele Muluzi.

The disturbances began shortly after Police officers violently dispersed crowds that included elderly men and women, from attending a rally at Ngwenya Primary school of Atupele – the Machinga North East parliamentarian.

The mob torched a police station and attacked some officers by pelting them with stones.

According to Nyasa Times reporter on the scene, one police officer was severely injured and rushed to hospital.

Kamuzu Central Hospital sources said the cop was in “critical condition.”

Angry mob torch police station

The mob also torched the vehicle belonging to state spy agency.

As events escalated, police used teargas and fired ammunition into the air in an effort to disperse the crowd.

“The Police officers should not be overzealous. The economic problems we are facing in Malawi do not spare them at all. They should not protect the monster,” said one angry resident in Area 24 identified as Maneno.

Police spokesman Davie Chingwalu said they blocked the meetings of Atupele because he “did not obtain permission” to conduct such meetings.

At one point a UDF official Austin Kalimanjira claimed he had received a phone-call from Inspector General of Police, Peter Mukhito, asking him to tell the party to cancel the meetings.

Kalimanjira told the Police chief that he was not the organiser and could not stop the ‘agenda for change’ rally.

Deputy spokesman of UDF, Ken Ndanga, said they had followed all procedures to hold the meetings and informed the police.

Police set up roadblocks in Area 25 and Likuni and then fired tear gas to prevent the Atupele Muluzi meetings from going ahead.

In Likuni, teargas canisters and gun shots damaged the car belonging to UDF lawmaker Shaibu Kaliati. The vehicle was part of Atupele’s motorcade.

These events come against the backdrop of increasing civil discontent over Malawi’s economic crisis under President Bingu wa Mutharika who has been given up to May 14 to resign or call for a referendum to renew his mandate.

Judiciary workers and others have been on strike and civil servants are threatening strike action unless they are awarded pay increase in an effort to keep pace with the country’s rising-inflation.

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