An angry mob in Ntchisi on Monday burnt the hands of 19-year-old Josaidi Jeremia on suspicion that he stole three heads of cattle belonging to Judith Chinthu.
Ntchisi Police spokesperson Gladson M’bumpha confirmed the development, saying the victim is currently admitted to Ntchisi District Hospital and the police are waiting for him to recover to answer charges of theft.
He said the incident happened at Kadzionetsa Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Malenga in the district, adding the suspect had previously been police-friendly as he usually tipped the police about other suspected thieves.
M’bumpha said: “The suspect was a good citizen, as he often tipped us about other suspected thieves. For example, on August 30, Jeremia tipped us that a cattle farmer, Chimalizeni Malija, had stolen three cattle from a nearby village. We recovered the cattle and arrested Malija.
“But Jeremia later went to inform Judith Chinthu, who is wife to Malija, that he needed K100 000 to use as one of bail conditions at the court for her husband, who is on remand at Chikwatula Prison in Ntchisi, to be set free. This was not true. He got the money and went to an unknown place, instead.”
He added that after spending the money, Jeremia returned to Chinthu’s house on Monday and stole the three heads of cattle.
“Angry people caught the suspect with the cattle. They assaulted the suspect by burning both his hands when they realised that he was not cooperative,” he said.
Jeremia comes from Kafulumira Village, T/A Malenga in the district.