Police arrest 11 over arson, farm vandalism in Salima

By Grace Kapatuka, MANA

Police in Salima are keeping in custody 11 suspects they arrested over alleged arson and vandalism at Chapola farm in Traditional Authority (TA) Kuluunda on October 24, perpetrated by irate communities sorrounding the farm as protest against alleged murder cases believed to have been initiated by the owner a Mr Chapola.

During the protest, angry community members demolished some of the buildings at the farm, killed and wounded unspecified number of animals and went away with assorted items.

The damaged property

Salima Police publicist, Jacob Khembo said they have since arrested 11 people in connection with the case — two namely Tony Selemani Ndalama, 34 and Tendani Dominico, 49 on October 24 and nine more on October 27 in connection with the vandalism case.

He identified the nine as Meliya Big (30); Kamanola Kennedy (18); Chifundo Juma (27); Peter Bomba (34); Kenani Phiri (31); Kondex Kachala (34); Mphatso Packson (34); Yamikani Moffart (16) and Matola Mwamadi (36).

Khembo said the communities suspect that the owner of the farm had murdered a person after discovering blood-stained clothes and blood drops and a nonfunctional cellphone at the farm — which made them conclude that someone was murdered there.

Damage assessment

He said the villagers reported the matter to Police, who immediately visited the scene where they failed to trace any dead body within the farm and pledged to continue investigating the matter.

The development, according to Khembo, angered the communities who started destroying property and killing animals at the farm, demolishing buildings and torched some of the structures.

An eye witness, who did not want to be mentioned, said Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers intervened to calm the situation as the angry villagers were equipped with machetes, pangas and other dangerous weapons.

Khembo said the 11 suspects have since been charged with arson, malicious damage, theft and killing animals.

Coronavirus alert

“All the 11 suspects will be taken to court soon to answer charges levelled against them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Police is advising the public to avoid taking the law into their hands and that they should always report complaints to police for proper investigations.

Coronavirus alert