16 arrested, 2 injured in Thyolo land grab fracas


Sixteen members of People’s Land Organisation(PLO), a grouping of people of Mulanje and Thyolo who are agitating for the “reclamation” of land from estates in the two areas, were arrested on Thursday for attempting to grab land belonging to estates.

Among those arrested are six women while the rest are men.

According to the Trustee of PLO, Vincent Wandale, hundreds of villagers from Thyolo and Mulanje gathered in the field at Natambwe where they planned to start sharing land currently owned by estate investors.


Prior to the planned land distribution of land which is over 25,000 hectares, police intervened and asked the leaders to discuss with the district commissioner before they start the exercise.

The officers also asked the others to go back to their homes which they refused.

Later, as the police led the leaders of PLO to Thyolo District Council, a commotion erupted and police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.


It is reported that two people got injured in the process and 16 of them are in police custody for questioning.

Deputy Public Relations Officer for the Southern Region Police, Beatrice Mikuwa, confirmed the development.

“It is true we are keeping some villagers who wanted to share land belonging to estates in Thyolo. We have not yet charged them but they are in our custody for questioning. We will share other details later when we finish interviewing them,” stated Mikuwa.

However, Wandale said their position will not change and their next move is to lodge a complaint at the International Court of Justice against foreign aggression.

“I personally will take this matter to United Nations until justice prevails on this issue. This is their [locals’] land and it is not fair for government to arrest its own people because they are claiming their land currently possessed by foreigners,” Wandale said.

The land they wanted to share belongs to Naming’oma, Makwasa, Henderson Farm and also Chitakale and Limbuli estates in Mulanje.

Thyolo District Commissioner, Charles Thombozi, could not pick his phone to comment on the matter.

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