Malawi Prison authorities at Zomba Maximum Prison are keeping it wraps the number of injured inmates and warders following running battles on Thursday as authorities confisticated unauthorised items in prison cells.
Prison spokesperson Smart Maliro confirmed there was an exercise to confiscate illegal items but refused to give details.
“This is a routine exercise therefore it is not news,” he said.
Sources at the prison said there were running battles as prison warders confiscated over 700 mobile phones, indian hemp, beers and other harmful drugs.
Nyasa Times understand that the fracas erupted when one prisoner Jack ‘Nachopanti’ Bandawe was found with a mobile phone. He was poured water all over and over 10 prisoners joined to assault him.
Relatives and friends who had gone to the prison to visit the inmates had at lunch hour were kept away from the prison building, they were told to wait for hours outside the prison fence. Visitors and other people visiting the inmates are kept at a visitors’ bay within the prison.
During the fracas with prisoners, warders were injured including Inspector Mwale who sustained a cut on his head, officer James Kumbani sustained a cut on his eye while others like Sergent Dzikolidaya and Mwamande were stoned and had minor injuries.
A warder Moses Mtambalika sustained three cuts on his head.
Several prisoners have suffered fractured legs and arms.
Inmates who spoke with Nyasa Times say they fear two prisoners have died following the incident but this could not be independently verified.
One of the inmates, former deputy minister in DPP government Elock Maotcha Banda who is unwell was reportedly chained in leg iron and badly beaten.
“There has been too much torture of inmates,” said one prison officer.
Malawi Prison Service acting Commissioner Little Mtengano who was reportedly in Lilongwe sent his staff officer Mrs Chikungwa to check on the situation.
Chikungwa herself is known to be notorious on torture as a few year ago she almost killed a prisoner known as Chimphonda serving life imprionsment but was rescued by former chief commissioner Kennedy Nkhoma.
Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner of Prisons Mtengano eturned to Zomba on Friday following the chaos but refused to respond to any question on, saying the matter was still under investigations.
Some years ago, an inmate, Kwacha Ghambi was killed in the prison after he refused to stop boiling his afternoon tea outside his cell and was forcibly pushed into his cell.
He poured the hot water for the tea on a senior prison warder, which forced other warders to beat him to death. This forced the government to make some prison reforms.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :