Chaos erupted at Zalewa Police Roadblock in Neno yesterday morning when police and villagers engaged in a running battle after the law enforcers were accused of shielding a suspect.
According to witnesses, the suspect, who was killed by the irate mob as the police were trying to protect him from harm, allegedly stole a motorcycle and murdered a 12-year-old boy.
Explained Alice Nofasi, a tangerines seller at the trading centre: “The boy went missing last week after his fathersent him to the trading centre to charge a car battery. Villagers reported the matter to police, but nothing was being done.”
According to her, the villagers then started investigating the matter on their own until they found the motorcycle the missing boy had used the day he was allegedly killed.
Nofasi further said the boy’s body was found in a bush at Lisungwi in a decomposed state with private partts, hands and feet missing.
“This angered the villagers more and they wanted to torch the suspect but the police rescued him even though he was already severely injured,” explained Davie Kampala, a resident of Zalewa Trading Centre.
Southern Region Police spokesperson Ramsey Mushane confirmed the incident, but said details were still sketchy as investigations were still underway.
As The Nation crew left Zalewa at around 5.30pm yesterday, the situation was calm as traffic and businesses resumed.
However, Nofasi bemoaned loss of business as goods and money were lost or stolen during the fracas.
According to communities around the area, cases of attacks on Kabaza businesspeople are said to be on the rise in the area as two weeks ago a similar incident was also reported.
Yesterday’s incident against the police followed a similar episode at Mdeka Police Station end March this year with critics saying the increase of such incidents reflect loss of trust in police.
Similar incidences also took place in Chilomoni and Makhetha in Blantyre and Area 24 in Lilongwe. n