Nkhata Bay Magistrate’s Court is on September 18 expected to give its ruling on an arson case in which Chinganga and Hanambo community members fought and left 50 houses torched.
The fight also left two people dead and the case has been committed to the High Court.
In a statement, Nkhata Bay Police Station spokesperson Kondwani James said 21 suspects appeared in court last Thursday to answer various charges.
Reads the statement in part: “In the first set of proceedings, five suspects entered plea of arson. Each burnt house was attached to its own count such that each accused person has been charged with 35 counts bearing the title ‘arson’ pertaining to the number of houses torched.”
He said the suspects, except three murder suspects and a juvenile, pleaded not guilty to all counts. They are being represented by lawyer Jones Chiwalo, who applied for their bail.
On the other hand, the State is being represented by lawyer Solomon Gomezgani Mchawi.
First grade magistrate Robert Makaika reserved his bail ruling to September 18, but granted bail to the school-going juvenile who did not take plea.
The latest incident came about 10 months after a similar scene occurred in the district which left four people dead with 21 houses torched following a fight between villages.
A police report indicates that the fresh fight was triggered by the alleged murder of a 35-year-old man at Old Maula Trading Centre in the district on August 30 this year.
The deceased, from Chinganga Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Fukamalaza, was killed by a mob allegedly from Nkhole Village in the area.