Police yesterday arrested five more suspects in connection with the violence that claimed two lives at Goliati in Thyolo on March 16 2014 where President Joyce Banda addressed a rally.
Police superintendent Cassim Julius and civilian Aaron Sawerengera died during the fracas.
Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General (IG) Lot Dzonzi yesterday confirmed the fresh arrests in an interview.
Said Dzonzi: “Five people have been arrested in connection with the violence [at Goliati]. One of them was found with a phone belonging to the [deceased] police officer while the other four have been arrested for inciting violence, but investigations are still continuing.”
However, the IG could not give particulars of the arrested suspects.
Dzonzi also distanced the police from the violence report circulating in the social media purportedly issued by his office and submitted to the President which blamed the governing People’s Party (PP) as having incited the violence.
He said: “In fact, we are investigating the source of that report because it was not written by the police.”
Dzonzi also said investigations into the assault in Blantyre of Ben Phiri, personal assistant to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Peter Mutharika, three days after the Thyolo fracas and the violence in Mzuzu are still underway.
Asked why no arrests have been made in the Phiri case when suspects are known, Dzonzi said investigations go beyond knowing the names.
He said: “When we get the names, we have to attach evidence to those names; otherwise, we will end up arresting many people and pay [compensation to] them later.”
In a related development, bail hearing for DPP Thyolo East Constituency governor Felix Mahikili, who was also arrested in connection with the fracas, will take place today, according to DPP director of legal affairs Sai Kaphale.
Mahikili has been in custody for two weeks now.
Kaphale said after his arrest, Mahikili was taken to court where bail was applied.
He said: “The State wanted our member to stay in prison for 14 days, but the court gave seven days. The seven days elapsed on Monday.”
Kaphale also said he had been told that another person, Boaz Gonani, a DPP constituency official in the area, was also arrested and that his bail hearing will also take place tomorrow.
Last week, Mutharika protested the arrest of Mahikili who, he claimed, was not at the rally when the violence erupted.
Mutharika called on the police to thoroughly investigate the matter and find out who caused the violence which Banda blamed on him. He denied the accusation and asked the President to publicly withdraw the claim.