Police in Zomba are keeping in custody two police officers on suspicion that they killed three fishers and injured two others in a fracas that ensued at Lingani Fishing Dock of Lake Chilwa.
A statement, which Malawi Police Service (MPS) spokesperson James Kadadzera has signed, indicates that the law enforcers would investigate the incident that took place in the wee hours of Saturday.
“The fishers refused to hand over their fishing nets to members of the BVC [Beach Village Committee] as is required and, instead, launched an attack on them. It is reported that the police used their firearm to protect themselves and the BVC members and to further arrest the fishers,” the statement reads.
Kadadzera says police were ready to work with other stakeholders.
“Considering the gravity of this incident and the potential impact it has on the image of the MPS and also in order to render the findings of this inquiry credible, the MPS invites stakeholders such as the Malawi Human Rights Commission and the Independent Police Complaints Commission for a joint investigation into the matter,” it adds.
Village Head Likapa told The Daily Times that the incident happened following a fracas that ensued when law enforcers, who were in the company of M’chenga BVC members, were patrolling the lake to confiscate fishing nets from fishers who were defying the government’s ban.
The lake has been closed since December to observe the breeding season for fish.
Meanwhile, Police Complaints Commission Independent Complaints Commissioner Chris Tukula has said they have, so far, received nine complaints from the public and four from MPS.
“We are handling nine complaints from the public and we have four cases that were directed to us by the police, especially those involving police shootings. However there are one or two cases that were being done by other organisations and have also been thrown at us to continue with them,” Tukula said.