28 more arrested for Msundwe fracas

Police have arrested 28 more suspects in connection with the fracas that claimed the life of Police Mobile Service (PMS) Superintendent Usumani Imedi at Msundwe Trading Centre along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road.

The number brings to 40 the suspects arrested following the violence on the outskirts of Lilongwe City.

In an interview on Wednesday, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said police were currently interrogating the suspects.

However, he refused to give details of the station they are being held, citing security purposes.

“What I can confirm to you is that we have so far arrested 40 people following Tuesday’s fracas that happened at Msundwe. The suspects were arrested from Mpingu, M’bwatalika and Msundwe.

“We are interviewing them. After that, it is when we will decide who goes with what charges,” Kadadzera said.

Imedi was brutally killed by an irate mob at Msundwe  where he led a team of PMS officers deployed to quell violent acts in the area after rioters had barricaded the road, that is also an international gateway, to the inconvenience of road users.

The deceased, who was stationed at PMS C Company in Lilongwe and had just completed a two-month leadership and crowd control training course, found himself rounded by the angry mob before he was stoned to death.

Yesterday, the social media was rife with reports that at least six of the suspects arrested in connection with the violence had died in police custody.

But Kadadzera dismissed the reports, saying: “That is social media. No one has died, unless you have the details of those you are saying died. The suspects will appear before court when we are done interviewing them.”

He said the police was allowing family members to visit the suspects within prescribed visiting hours.

Kadadzera’s statement a reaction to sentiments by one Wilson Chikhwana, a parent to one of the suspects, who claimed in an interview at Area 3 Police Station that police denied him an opportunity to see his son.

He said: “We have been told to go and look for him at the hospital, but we are still hanging around here hoping that they just don’t want us to know what is happening…”

Chikhwana said the police later allowed them to identify their son in the cell, which they did.

He said: “We went to see him while in the cell. They didn’t allow him out, he has been beaten severely. He wasn’t even part of the demonstrators. He was returning from Mzuzu where he went to drop children when he was arrested at Msundwe.”

Reports indicated that the protesters wanted to block Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters from travelling to Lilongwe to attend a rally addressed by President Peter Mutharika in Kawale Township.

Witnesses said the protesters had overpowered and chased the police officers who were clearing the rocks and logs used to block the road. The witnesses said Imedi, as team leader, was the last police officer standing in the commotion when he met his fate.

Imedi’s murder brings to two the number of police officers killed in post-election violence. Several other police officers have also been injured.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has since condemned Imedi’s killing.

Briefing journalists in Lilongwe yesterday afternoon, HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo said Imedi’s killing was regrettable and asked relevant authorities to bring to book perpetrators.

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