The onset of rains has brought to the fore simmering tension over a piece of land between some Chadzunda residents and the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) in Blantyre.
Two officials at the MAM Blantyre Islamic Mission were on Tuesday injured and sought treatment at Mpemba Health Centre after villagers attacked them with clubs and hoe handles in the morning. At least 10 police officers were called in to quell the situation, but damage had already been done at Pasonje Village in T/A Somba.
Blantyre Police spokesperson Lameck Thembachako said they have since arrested seven suspects in connection with the fracas. He said pupils at the Blantyre Islamic Mission, armed with sticks, went after the residents and apprehended an elderly woman for allegedly inciting her sons to forcibly possess the land which MAM says it bought from National Bank of Malawi in 1986.
Regina Foster, whom the youth apprehended, wept uncontrollably as she was allegedly threatened to be given a thorough beating. Foster claimed they have been fighting MAM over the 350 hectare and that they were allowed to use the land on condition that they pay K1 500 per hectare per year, but the arrangement was stopped last growing season. But MAMâ€™s Osman Julius Chirombo alleged that the residents threatened unspecified action on the Blantyre Islamic Mission staff.
â€œOur families are being intimidated. We are living in fear. We went to court for protection so that we comfortably use our land, but they are not respecting the court order,â€ said Chirombo.