Eight students from Nkhotakota Secondary School were rushed to hospital on Wednesday night after police officers threw tear gas canisters near the school.
The incident happened when police tried to disperse traders at Nkhotakota Boma Market as one way of enforcing Covid-19 guidelines that stipulate that markets should close at 5pm.
The vendors, who engaged police in running battles, sought refuge near the school, prompting officers to fire the tear gas.
In an interview yesterday, Nkhotakota Secondary School deputy head teacher Henry Mbendera confirmed that eight students were affected and taken to hospital.
“One has been discharged while seven are still in hospital,” he said.
Malawi News Agency visited the hospital yesterday and confirmed the admission of some people affected by teargas.
One of the victims, Patuma Ibrahim, 21, was seen lying in agony at the hospital.
A witness, who pleaded for anonymity said police arrived at the market as traders were about to leave at 5.49pm and started throwing tear gas indiscriminately.
Angered by the police action, residents went amok and vandalised property, blocked roads and looted shops, including Nkhotakota Chipiku Depot.
Nkhotakota District Hospital spokesperson Garry Chilinga said 14 people were treated as outpatient while eight were admitted.
“All are in stable condition and under observation,” he said.
Nkhotakota Police Station officer-in-charge Isaac Norman admitted that his officers used tear gas to disperse protesters, but said he was yet to get a report from the officers.