A protesting mob at Chinamwali in Zomba has injured a police officer whilst a civilian who was seated in an open vehicles was hit by a stray bullet as people protested against confiscation of charcoal by authorities.
Mathews Mkwapatira, assistant plantations officer for Zomba Plateau said officials from his office and the police were in an operation to confiscate charcoal in the area.
“As we did this, people mobilized themselves and started violent protests; they blocked the road and the situation was getting out of hand,” he said.
He said in the process a police officer got injured in the neck but said his injury is not life threatening.
Mkwapatira also said a civilian was hit by a bullet after a police officer shot in the air in the fracas to dispel the angry crowd.
He said the person was seated in an open vehicle.
Police public relations officer for Zomba Patricia Supriano said police are investigating the matter and refused to comment on the injuries.
People accuse the police and forestry officers of confiscating charcoal from poor people who want to earn a living but the charcoal ends up in officers homes or sold.
Government says the exercise is meant to deter people from burning charcoal an exercise blamed for the high rate of deforestation in the country.
Police in Khotakota says angry community members on Saturday burnt to ashes a a vehicle belonging to a business person Umandi Bashir for allegedly assaulting and wounding three Indian nationals who work for Salima Sugar Factory in the district.
Nkhunga Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ignatius Esau identified the three as Ketan Patel, 47, Gaurang Patel, 25, and Yussuf Shelat, 40.
According to Esau, the three attacked after being suspedted of plotting to steal his sugarcane when they were supervising a sugarcane haulage in anearby area.
He said the moved irked community members who torched Bashir’s vehicle.
Meanwhile, the police have arrested 39 year old Bashir from Kabafu Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kanyenda in the district for unlawful wounding, an offence that contravenes Section 141(a) of the Penal Code.
Esau said investigations are underway to arrest his accomplices.