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Six injured in Machinga train looting

A 14-year-old boy, Madalitso Sherif, is battling for his life at Zomba Central Hospital after allegedly being hit by stray bullets emanating from a pump gunshot of Central East African Railways (Cear) security guard.

According to our source, the security guard only identified as a Mr Kaphwiyo, tried to fire warning shots to suspected looters as they stole wheat from a moving train.

However, the source claims that the guard did not shoot in the air but rather the other side of the looters where the bullets landed on the five people who were drawing water at a nearby well.

“The incident happened on Saturday at around noon when the train transporting wheat from Indian Ocean to Malawi and Zambia arrived at Nayuchi Border Railway Station. Reports say the cargo was looted while passing through Mozambique, so a lot of people took advantage at the station to cart the wheat away. But when people started scrambling for the wheat falling from the cargo of the train, it is when the guard fired the shots,” the source said.

The source said Sherif has 12 gun wounds and was rushed to Machinga District Hospital the same day. He also said the other injured were four children and a 60-year-old Sandikonda Nyangwisa and were treated as out patients at Nayuchi Health Centre.

The four children are Sinoya Nazombe, 18, of Chilemba Village, Abdul Sadibwa , 16, of Nkumbira Village, Mayeso Sitenala, 14, from Nayuchi Village, and Chisangalalo Maxwel, 14, of Manesi Village, all in the area of sub-Traditional Authority Mchinguza in Machinga.

Cear Spokesperson, Chisomo Mwamadi, who is expected to address the media today on the matter, said the child and others were injured due to stampede and also teargas canisters.

“Our train was first attacked at Intrelagos in Mozambique where one wagon with over 40 tonnes was opened and wheat was thrown away. Following this attack, we beefed up security from there to Nayuchi. However, there was information sharing among the people about the train transporting wheat, hence organised themselves to loot it.

“They threw stones and our security guards with some police officers used tear gas to disperse the looters, in the process there was stampede. We suspect the boy who is in the hospital was injured by the teargas canisters and also commotion that was there,” Mwamadi said.

He then ruled out the reports in the social media that it was the company that attacked people and not the other way round.

“Remember that since last year, we have been complaining of these attacks. People should not hide behind hunger. This is pure theft. I think tomorrow [today] we will have a press briefing to clear these misconceptions,” he said

Machinga Police Spokesperson, Davie Sulumba, referred the matter to Eastern Region Police, where its Deputy Spokesperson, Autria Kumanga, confirmed the incident but could not say if the injuries were due to the gunshots.

According to police, Madalitso is seriously injured at the forehead.

“The matter is under investigations. But what we have established so far is that Madalitso has been referred from Machinga to Zomba Central Hospital for further treatment. So after gathering the whole evidence, that’s when I can furnish you with a concrete report,” said Kumanga.

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