Police might arrest three more suspects in connection with the ongoing Balaka Stadium violence case that cost Lemiyasi Josita’s life during an ill-tempered TNM Super League match between Silver Strikers and Mighty Wanderers on December 28 2013.
Eastern Region Police headquarters public relations officer Thomeck Nyaude disclosed this on Monday when asked about the progress of the police investigations which are key to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Bruno Kalemba stepping into the case.
“Looking at the gravity of the case, the death, injuries and the damage caused, we are hopeful the number might rise to five. We know where to get the suspects. It is only that we could not arrest people without tangible evidence. Once we have the evidence, we will do that. We are in the final stages,” Nyaude said a few days after Kalemba said he was awaiting the police report to ascertain if there were criminal elements in the case.
After the fracas at the stadium, Balaka police arrested suspected Silver fans Bruno Makina and Austin Phiri who were eventually granted bail after paying K5 000 ($1.25) bond.
The two were arrested on the charge of inciting violence, but they deny the charge and they will reappear in Balaka Senior Magistrates Court on February 14 2014, according to Nyaude.
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda could not be reached yesterday, but Silver general secretary Mike Tembo called for thorough investigations.
“Where things have gone wrong, let us not scratch on the surface. That is the best [thing to do] because at the end of the day justice must prevail,” said Tembo whose team alongside the Nomads have appealed to FAM against six and four competitive games bans from next season as meted out by the Sulom Appeals Committee.
But football analyst and ex-FAM general secretary Charles Nyirenda noted that there was some laxity in handling of security in Balaka, evidenced by Sulom’s insistence on deploying 20 police officers instead of 40 as advised by police.
“Organisers must put the safety of people first. We should not be told that people will be arrested but that they have been arrested. Now on what basis would the arrest be made? This seems like a casual approach to serious issues. We must be pro-active and when things happen and act swiftly. Immediately after the incident, there should have been an independent inquiry,” Nyirenda argued.