At a time police claims to have reformed, a group of police officers in Mzuzu on Friday assaulted Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) journalists in line of duty.
The journalists were covering a joint sweep by Mzuzu City Council (MCC) rangers and police to flush vendors off the streets after they defied a June 15 deadline.
ZBS journalists Musase Cheyo and Towera Kumwenda went to cover the sweep but they ended up being confronted by hostile police officers, who allegedly mocked them before assaulting them, resulting in various degrees of injury, and had to be referred to Mzuzu Health Centre (MHC) for treatment.
As fate would have it, the health facility did not have some of the medicine prescribed for the injured journalists.
Cheyo, who suffered swollen left eye, said apart from the eye he was also feeling severe pain in the chest, ribs, hip-joint and legs.
He recalled being surrounded by over 10 officers, whom he alleged took turns in assaulting them.
He said the officers handled the two journalists like criminals despite that they had obtained permission from Northern Region Police public relations officer Peter Kalaya to cover the exercise; and had explained the same to their assailants.
“I am traumatised. I don’t understand why they behaved that way when we told them that we had permission to take pictures. It was as if we had committed a crime. Their duty was to provide protection to the city council officials who were driving out the vendors, but they ended up attacking us in full view of the vendors,” said Cheyo.
Kumwenda, whose pair of trousers was torn in the course of the assault, said she is yet to understand why they faced such brutality.
–Read more about this and other stories in Weekend Nation tomorrow.