Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia on Sunday told police to arrest registration officers who were holding a meeting in Mzuzu.
The officers who are carrying out the national registration exercise under the National Registration Bureau (NRB) were meeting at Mzuzu Shoprite ahead of a planned strike.
The registration officers want NRB to give them their arrears, leave grants and gratuities.
According to reports, Chiumia was tipped about the meeting and she went to the supermarket where she started observing the group from her car.
When they noticed the minister and approached her to address them, Chiumia rebuffed the registration officers and threatened to deal with them if they go ahead with plans to hold a strike.
She then left and later returned in the company of armed police. Some of the registration officer managed to run away upon seeing the police but others were arrested and taken to Mzuzu Police where they are being held.
According to the registration officers, NRB promised to give them arrears at the end of the third phase of the registration exercise but they are yet to be given the money.
Meanwhile, the registration workers have promised to shut down all registration centres in the Northern Region until their friends are released and their arrears are paid.