There were running battles yesterday at Balaka Town between police officers and some people over two murder suspects the people wanted out of custody.
The fracas followed the arrest of the suspects last Tuesday for allegedly terrorising Balaka Town.
But yesterday, when residents learned that the suspects were in police custody, they mobilised themselves and marched to Balaka Police Station where they sealed the facility.
The mob demanded police to surrender the suspects to deal with them. Earlier, some people burned down houses of the suspects.
Police refused to surrender the suspects and dispersed the protesters, which culminated into a fracas at Balaka Town, disrupting businesses as police officers threw teargas canisters.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the protesters said people were against taking the suspects to court, saying the process of justice is slow.
“People think the best way is to kill them because they have allegedly killed innocent people,” he said.
Balaka Police Station officer-in-charge Daniel Sauteni said they arrested the suspects at Kankao following a tipp-off from well-wishers.
“Recently, Balaka has experienced a security lapse resulting in people being killed. After investigations, we arrested two suspects, but we are surprised to see the same residents who tipped us off demanding mob justice,” he said.
However, Sauteni assured people that order will prevail in the town following the fracas yesterday.