Four people have died and 21 houses torched in Tuesday’s fracas between two villages along the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road in Nkhata Bay.
Nkhata Bay District Health Office spokesperson Christopher Singini, in an interview last evening, said one victim was brought to the hospital already dead another died while receiving medical attention.
He also said a third victim died at Mzuzu Central Hospital last evening where he was earlier referred to for further treatment and the fourth was brought in dead at the hospital around 6.15pm.
Said Singini: “We referred two to Mzuzu Central Hospital because they had deep cuts. One victim is still being treated at the district hospital as an in-patient.”
Earlier, at around 5pm yesterday, Nkhata Bay Police station officer Alexander Moyo said one person had died following a fracas that ensued between people of Mkondezi in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mkumbira and Msakanene Village, in T/A Timbiri in the district.
He said some people from Mkondezi visited Msakanene at midnight on Monday to follow up on their property stolen some time back. He said the people’s private investigations traced the property to Msakanene Village.
While emphasising that to his knowledge, the matter of the suspected thief was not reported, Moyo said the people of Mkondezi raided the house of a friend to the suspected thief who in turn alerted other villagers by screaming that thieves were attacking him.
He said: “The villagers from Msakanene mobilised themselves and assaulted the people from Mkondezi. In the process, a person from Mkondezi, a businessperson was killed.”
Moyo said police arrested three people from Msakanene Village yesterday morning.
He said people of Mkondezi retaliated to the killing of their own by torching 21 houses yesterday afternoon.
“This [torching] did not go down well with villagers from Msakanene who pursued the people from Mkondezi and a fight broke out which left four people from Mkondezi critically injured,” said Moyo.
While the district hospital has confirmed four deaths, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Symon Vuwa Kaunda, who is also Nkhata Bay Central legislator, put the number of the dead at six.
“Six people have died. I have bought three coffins and provided a lorry to ferry the bodies to Karonga. The three were residing at Mkondezi Settlement Scheme, but are originally from Traditional Authority Kyungu in Karonga District,” he said.
The minister said the other three dead are from Nkhata Bay.