A vehicle belonging to the Tobacco Commission (TC) was in the wee hours of yesterday petrol-bombed by unknown thugs, both police and the tobacco industry regulator have confirmed.
The vehicle, a Toyota double-cabin registration 18 SC 40, was petrol-bombed at around 2am while parked in front of TC’s head office at Kanengo in Lilongwe.
National Police deputy spokesperson Tomeck Nyaude in an interview yesterday said police have since launched an investigation into the people who masterminded the attack and their motives.
He said: “It seems they were targeting the offices, but they ended up hitting a car and the whole front side of the vehicle has been affected. We are investigating the matter and we believe we will have a breakthrough.”
On his part, TC chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala said in a separate interview he was alerted of the incident around 2am, soon after the vehicle was set ablaze.
“It would appear that their intention was probably to attack the whole office complex but then they ended up attacking our vehicle using a petrol bomb,” he said.
Asked if the commission has in mind suspects behind the foul play, Sadala declined to comment saying at this point, TC has left the issue in the hands of the police for further investigation into the matter.
He said: “So at this point in time, we have got no idea in terms of who has done that and what’s the motive behind the attack.”
The Nation also understands that the incident came barely a few hours after about 700 tobacco growers had stormed TC Head Office Complex on Saturday to register for the next growing season as well as to uplift their tobacco quota allocation.
Sadala confirmed about the commotion which he said culminated into some growers smashing one window pane at the offices.
“Unfortunately, in the morning, our systems had some problems to the extent that our computers couldn’t start. So we had to engage our technicians on the ground to work on that and the problem was rectified by 10 o’clock in the morning [of Saturday].
But you will understand that if people have been queuing from 6am and you start serving them around 10am, ordinarily there would be some anxiety and there was indeed pushing and shoving of each other,” he said.
Eventually, Sadala said the situation normalised as the tension was quelled by security personnel which paved way for normal services until 8pm.