Two men who were shot on the evening of December 13 in Mangochi by an armed robber are now said to be in stable condition at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.
The two, a Burundi national, Ugwaneza Jean Paul but popularly known as John Maisha in Mangochi and 19 year-old Steven Yona were shot around Soko Bus Stage at the Boma at around 9:00 pm when the robber stormed Ugwaneza’s Shop and demanded cash and airtime vouchers at gunpoint.
The stolen cash amounted to K124, 000 while the airtime vouchers were worth K15, 000, Mangochi Police Station Public Relations Officer, Inspector Rodrick Maida confirmed.
Ugwaneza was shot on the chest at close range as he attempted to apprehend the armed robber at his shop while the teenager, Yona was shot at just below the stomach through to the back as he, innocently, walked towards the armed robber on the other side of the road.
The two were rushed to Mangochi District Hospital where they were further referred to QECH for immediate medical attention.
In an interview with Mana on Wednesday morning at QECH’s Ward 5A where the two have been admitted to, Ugwaneza and Yona said they were feeling much better than before and that they could now attempt to eat.
“I am feeling much better now and I can manage to sit up unlike before. For the first three days, I could only feed through a drip but now I can take fluids like juices,” said Ugwaneza, in laboured gasps though.
He added: “Every attempt to cough came with blood instead of sputum, the pain was just unbearable but I am very thankful to God for seeing me and the young man through all this, and I’m also thankful to the hospital staff for all the care they are according us.”
On the other bed, Steven’s father, Sandikonda Yona, said there was great improvement in his son’s condition and that the boy could now walk, slowly though, to the bathroom with little support.
Nurse In-Charge for the ward the two are in, Shameem Omar told Mana the condition of the two patients was stable and that they were positively responding to medication.
“There is great improvement on the patient,” said Omar about Ugwaneza’s condition.
“He went to theatre and the bullet was removed. We have inserted chest drain because there was diaphragm perforation and when we finally remove it, he will be much better.”
On Yona’s condition, Omar said he was fine and she encouraged the younger patient to keep eating.
Meanwhile, police in Mangochi Tuesday announced the arrest of four men in connection with the robbery and shooting of Ugwaneza and Yona and that K3, 000.00 cash, airtime vouchers worth K8, 000.00, two pistol rifles, three magazines and 18 live ammunitions were recovered.
The four were arrested following tip-offs from the general public. Maida said the first suspect, Gift Sitamba, 39, was arrested on Friday, December 15 at Liwonde in Machinga and one pistol with five live ammunitions was recovered from his house.
The second suspect, Thomas Useni, 28, was arrested on Saturday, December 16, at Lingamasa in Mangochi and on the same day the third suspect, Aliseni Ali, 34, was arrested and one pistol with 13 live ammunitions was recovered from his unregistered Renault saloon motor vehicle.
The Police PRO added that on Monday, December 18, the fourth suspect identified as Muhamad Ali, 32, was arrested at Biriwiri in Ntcheu on his way to South Africa.
The four will appear before court soon to answer charges of armed robbery contrary to Section 301 of the Penal Code.
Sitamba hails from Mphonde Village, in T.A. Mphonde in Nkhotakota and Useni is from Kalumba Village in T.A. Chowe, Mangochi, while Ali is from Chomba Village in T.A. Mponda in the same district. The fourth suspect, Ali, hails from Kwitunji Village in the area of T.A. Katuli in Mangochi.
Mangochi Police has since thanked people at large for their cooperation and tip-offs that have yielded the arrest of the four suspects and the recovery of the weapons and the stolen items.