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Police moves on UTM office inferno

Mzomera Ngwira hands himself in

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By Audrey Kapalamula & Samuel Kalimira:

Police have arrested some people suspected to be involved in the torching of UTM offices in Area 22 in Lilongwe in May this year.

Deputy National Police spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude confirmed the development yesterday but refused to divulge more information “to avoid jeopardising investigations”.

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“We have made some arrests of some people who are suspected to be involved in the torching of UTM offices in Lilongwe,” he said.

Six members of the Tambala family—parents and children—were severely burnt when the office which they were living in was torched by unknown assailants while they were inside.

The family’s parents and their son died while receiving treatment at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe.

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The incident, which happened a month before the court-ordered presidential election, attracted the attention of several international institutions including the United Nations which called for justice to be served in the matter.

UTM Publicity Secretary Joseph Chidanti Malunga said his party has always been looking forward to the arrests “for justice on the deaths and the office destruction to be uncovered”.

Elsewhere in Mzuzu, Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Kandulu has granted bail to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for the North Christopher Mzomera Ngwira and five others in a case of political violence that allegedly happened in 2016.

Among the bail conditions are cash bonds and non-cash sureties and the suspects reporting to police once every fortnight and surrendering all their travel documents.

Speaking after the ruling, defence lawyer Christon Ghambi said he was happy that his clients had been treated within the dictates of human rights in a fair trial.

“All the accused persons were in the country for four years; therefore, they cannot be flight risks. But the question could be: where was the police for the past four years? You would agree with me that these people deserved bail,” Ghambi said.

The court has since set August 21 for the case to proceed.

The other suspects are DPP Deputy Director of Operations Joe Nyirongo, George Mwamtobe, Lumbani Munthali and Thembisire Nkosi. Yesterday morning, Ngwira handed himself over to Mzuzu Police Station after two weeks since the police started hunting for him.

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