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Police, Blantyre City Council raid village, arrest 3

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A sombre mood has engulfed Mphonyiwa Village in Traditional Authority Machinjiri, Blantyre where some alleged officials from the Blantyre City Council (BCC) and Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) accompanied by the police invaded the village and demolished three houses.

For a long time, the city council has been battling the villagers, accusing them of encroaching on land owned by Msedi Admarc. The land is along Blantyre-Chiradzulu Road.

However, Group Village Headman Mphonyiwa said they got the land from their forefathers who lived on it long ago.

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During the raid on Friday, the police also arrested three men. Two were sleeping in one of the houses they have demolished and the other was resisting the demolition of his house.

The three are currently being kept at Limbe Police Station with their charges yet to be established.

But Limbe Police spokesperson Pedzisai Zembeneko asked for more time before commenting on the matter.

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Mphonyiwa told The Daily Times during our visit to the village yesterday that the officers came in five vehicles and stormed the village at midnight before demolishing their targeted houses.

“We heard the boys who sleep in this house crying, appealing for help and I woke up to enquire what was happening. When I got close, I asked the officers to tell me what they were doing. I told them I am the village head but they started harassing me as well,” Mphonyiwa said.

One of the houses that have been demolished has been under construction since 2009 and the owner of the house Jessy Ntonya who too was emotional to speak wondered how Admarc officials allowed her to construct the house in an illegal area for eight years.

“I don’t know what could have happened if they found me sleeping in the house. I have pumped in a lot of money to finish constructing this house since the death of my husband only for the police to destroy it like this,” Ntonya said.

Admarc Public Relations Officer, Agness Chikoko, referred the matter to the Blantyre City Council.

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