Police in Mzuzu have arrested three vendors and one casual labourer on suspicion that they torched Mzuzu City Council offices, vandalised the mayor’s home and assaulted city officials last month.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Northern Region Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya said police raided the homes of the four suspects on Sunday after investigations linked them to the incidents.
Police have since identified the three vendors as Ambokire Malunga, 48, of Mateyo Gondwe Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kilipula in Karonga, Patrick Bosiri, 38, of Gaweze Village, T/A Phambala in Ntcheu and Chivundano Gondwe , 38, of Mbale Village, T/A M’mbelwa in Mzimba. All three have shops at Vigwagwa Market where MCC demolished illegal structures which sparked the stand-off between the traders and the council.
The fourth suspect, Kondwani Munza, 19, of Mjinge Village, T/A M’mbelwa in Mzimba is a casual labourer in the city.
The four have since been charged with arson, malicious damage and unlawful wounding.
“We have established that the three incidents that happened on that particular day were linked: the demolishing of building illegally erected in Vigwagwa, the burning of the city council offices at the stadium and the stoning of the mayor’s residence.
“After the incident, we instituted investigations. We established leads and got all the information we needed and planned on the best way to arrest them,” said Kalaya.
He also said the police expect to make more arrests, arguing more people were involved in the incidents.
Mzuzu Vendors Association vice-president Gerald Maulana, who earlier distanced vendors from the offences, said police will have to bring evidence that the three were behind the alleged crimes.
However, he said vendors are mostly concerned with the goods they lost when MCC officers demolished their shops.
Maulana said items worth over K170 million were lost and the vendors want police to help them recover the items and make arrests.