There was chaos at Zalewa Roadblock as angry members of community fought with the police over a dead body of a murder suspect Saidi Mussa.
For four hours, nobody crossed Kamuzu Bridge at Zalewa as villagers and vendors engaged in fierce running battles with police officers manning the roadblock.
Motorists were forced to either branch-off into the old Lilongwe (Matope) road or use the longer route via Zomba.
According to the community members, Mussa allegedly killed a motor bike taxi operator, Ntaba Chisale, and stole his motorbike last week.
The angry mob found the murder suspect who confessed to the murder and directed them to where he had buried his victim.
Zalewa Police Unit Officer-in-Charge, Bravo Chapelesa, said violence erupted when the police rescued Mussa’s body from the mob which wanted to burn it.
“We don’t understand what they want. It is not that we rescued a person. They killed him but they were bent on burning his body. We have taken the body to Mwanza District Hospital and that is the genesis of all this violence,” he said.
There were teargas canisters all over and the angry mob stoned the police officers at every available opportunity.
The mob broke window panes of the unit’s office and set it ablaze but the officers doused the flames before they consumed the office.
Besides destroying the office, the angry mob also ransacked a shop belonging to Chapelesa before proceeding to his house. The rioters, however, returned on their way.
Brother to the murdered taxi operator said his Chisale was last seen on April 25.
He said other taxi operators told the family that Chisale was last seen in the company of Mussa and that marked the beginning of their search.
“They want to burn his body so that they can forget him. They do not want to be reminded of their agony every time they see his tomb,” he said.
The situation was tense that even a vehicle carrying Chisale’s decomposed body had to wait for over three hours before the mob allowed it to pass.
Southern Region Police Operations Officer, Mike Chona, decried the conduct of the locals.
“This is unfortunate. There is no police at Mdeka and they have destroyed this police unit too. Most of the people who are doing this have nothing to do but they are compromising their own security,” Chona said.
Mdeka Police Unit, which is a few kilometres away from Zalewa, was also destroyed by angry people who protested alleged laissez-faire attitude by police officers.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues