Salima Police Station on Saturday arrested Angiliano Nkhoza, 55, of Mikuju Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Ndindi in the district on suspicion that he played a role in the killing of Chihana.
Chitowe said Nkhoza is being linked to the murder because he had allegedly paid a questionable “secret visit” to Chihana’s compound during the day.
Village Head (VH) Saidi explained on Saturday that since last July’s murder of CID officer Ng’oma, there have been three other cases of gruesome murders, including those of Chihana and Finiyasi, in a space of five months.
Said Saidi: “The two died in bizarre circumstances on the same night of Tuesday [last week]. We are yet to find out what happened to the girl [Nelia], but Chihana was murdered a few hours after receiving her dividends from Banki M’khonde.”
The chief described Chihana, originally from Mzokoto Village, Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in Rumphi District but had lived in Salima from the early 1960s, as a successful farmer and business woman despite her old age.
During our visit to the area on Saturday, it was evident that ordinary people in the area are living in fear following the upsurge in criminal activities and gruesome murders around this lakeshore site.
Emphasised the chief: “We can’t blame our police officers, for we know they are operating without equipment and a vehicle. So, how do you expect them to enforce the law on or against criminals?
“This area is in desperate need of routine police patrols. Therefore, we appeal to government to move fast to equip them so that they can contain these criminal activities.”
The only surviving daughter of Chihana, Jane Mkandawire, said her mother met her fate on Tuesday after she received K113 016 as her dividends from the local village savings and loan association (VSLA) from her K83 100-worth of shares.
“We ask the police to expedite the investigations and bring to book everyone found culpable. Otherwise, we will end up hating or suspecting everyone in this village,” she said.
A sister-in-law to the deceased, Patricia Chimtengo, said the family believes that Chihana’s killers might have gone away with over K200 000 “because abuya [our grandparent] had other monies which her daughter and grandchildren had sent for her Christmas”.
She lamented: “Abuya had a lot of clothes and blankets, which are all missing together with the money.”
Sefu Sidala, a neighbour to Chihana and a reporter for Love Community Radio, said the rise in criminal activities and gruesome murders were proof that the area is suffering from serious security lapses.
Sidala feared these developments will negatively mar the reputation of Chipoka and, thereby, affect the tourism industry in the area if government does not arrest the criminal acts. n