Blantyre Magistrate’s Court, Wednesday, heard the case in which members of People’s Land Organisation (PLO) are answering charges of unauthorised use of land at Conforzi Plantations, where the incident took place.
This follows the request made by the prosecution team to take the trial to Conforzi Plantations so that the court can appreciate how the incident happened as state witnesses demonstrate.
The prosecution team led by Regional Police Prosecutor, Davie Mtete, along with the 22 accused members of PLO, their lawyer, Michael Chipeta, and Magistrate Thokozani Soko visited the scene where state witness Aniz Suleman gave his testimony.
There was a sombre mood from the people of Thyolo as heavily armed Police Officers entered Conforzi Plantations with the male accused handcuffed.
The villagers, who looked hopeless, lined along the dusty road leading to the place where the court proceedings took place.
They were not allowed to get closer to where the court sat as the police officers secured the whole place.
The proceedings started at around 10 o’clock in the morning and lasted for 20 minutes.
Suleman, who is owner of the plantations, explained how he got the report that strangers had invaded his plantation and cut down Macadamia trees with the intention to settle on the land.
The witness told the court that the accused started to construct structures and were cooking which meant that they were illegally settling on his land.
“On the September 1, I received a report that some villagers have settled on my land without my consent. I reported the case to Thyolo Police Officers who came to find out what was happening. When we visited the field, we found out that some had already started constructing shelters and there were hoes which meant the people were preparing the land for cultivation. Many Macadamia trees have been cut down and the field was burnt,” he said.
Suleman claimed that he bought the land from Liquidator Farm; hence he is the legitimate owner, while Vincent Wandale and the 21 others claim the land belongs to their ancestors.
The case proceeded at Blantyre Magistrate’s Court in the afternoon
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