Six arrested for setting ablaze houses over land dispute

Lilongwe market fire.

Six members of the same family are in police custody in Mchinji district after they set ablaze five houses belonging to fellow villagers following a dispute over land.

Mchinji Police Public Relations Officer Kaitano Lubrino has told Malawi24 that the suspects who had been on the run after committing the crime in October were cornered during the wee hours of Wednesday.

According to Lubrino, one of the victims, Rhoda Kalima, told police that both parties have been in a land dispute since 2013 and that their case is still in court.

On the day of the arson, the suspects went to the victims’ homes accusing them of damaging a statue of their late father that was built some years ago at his tombstone which is in one of the victims’ gardens.

Lilongwe market fire.

“Following that wrangle it is alleged that the suspects went on and set on fire all the five houses at once,” Lubrino said.

As the victims wanted to rescue some of their properties, it is reported that the suspects stood from afar and scared them by throwing some stones to the extent that all their belongings were burned to ashes.

The belongings included cooking utensils, foodstuffs, clothes, money and animals worth a million Malawi Kwacha.

Meanwhile all suspects will appear before court soon to answer charges of arson which is contrary to section 337 of the penal code when investigations are concluded.

Four of the suspects – Patulani Ehadi, 52, Eliadi Natani, 50, Kondwani Kanike, 23, Thokozani Fillimon 19 – come from Chidzuma village Traditional Authority Mduwa while one of them Jaison Waston, 44, comes from Nkhwazi village Traditional Authority Mabvwere all in Mchinji. The remaining one Mtumayani Dziwitseni, 21, comes from Chiwanga village Traditional Authority Masumba in Lilongwe.