What started as a normal day at work ended in tragedy on Tuesday for Police Mobile Service (PMS) Superintendent Usumani Imedi who was brutally killed by a mob at Msundwe on the outskirts of Lilongwe City.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said in an interview that Imedi was team leader of PMS officers deployed to quell violent acts around Msundwe along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road where rioters had barricaded the road that is also an international gateway.
He said Imedi, who was stationed at PMS C Company in Lilongwe and had just completed a two-month leadership and crowd control training course, found himself rounded by the angry mob before he was stoned to death.
Said Kadadzera: “This heinous act has no place in Malawi and as police we condemn it in the strongest terms. We will also investigate this death and all suspects will be taken to court to be prosecuted according to the law.”
By 8pm on Tuesday, Kadadzera said police had arrested 12 suspects in connection with Imedi’s murder. He said more arrests were expected to be effected last night.
Witnesses said the protesters had overpowered and chased the police officers who were clearing rocks and logs used to block the road. The witnesses said Imedi was, as team leader, the last man standing in the commotion when he met his fate.
Reports indicated that the protesters wanted to block Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters from travelling to Lilongwe to attend a rally addressed by President Peter Mutharika in Kawale Township.
Imedi’s murder brings to two the number of police officers killed in post-election violence. Several other police officers have also been injured.
Kadadzera said another PMS officer, Superintendent Gani who sustained injuries during anti-Jane Ansah protests in August, died on Tuesday at Kamuzu Central Hospital where he was due to undergo a surgery.
Besides Imedi’s death, one other police officer was injured in the Msundwe fracas.
Reacting to the tragedy, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera said he was shocked to learn about the death of the officer.
On the likelihood that his party supporters could be behind the barbaric act, he said he condemns the perpetrators regardless of their political party affiliation.
In a separate interview, Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi claimed that government is aware that some donor is sponsoring training of some people in Msundwe to destabilise the country.
He said government will not relent to deal with all pockets of violence in the country.
On his part, governance and social commentator Rafiq Hajat pointed that what has happened on Tuesday was just a continuation of a cycle of violence in the country.
Two weeks ago, a civilian died in police custody in Mzuzu after being arrested during anti-Jane Ansah protests in Karonga.