Angry people and police in Dowa were involved in running battles yesterday following the death of a 5 year old girl who went missing on Friday.
The community members were blocking the burial of the girl who was found dead on a river bank, a few metres from the house of a woman suspected to have abducted her.
The body of the late young girl was taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe for a second postmortem after police and people surrounding Dowa boma, were not satisfied with the preliminary postmortem conducted at the Dowa District Hospital that the girl died of suffocation due to drowning.
Dowa Police Station’s Public Relations Officer, Sergeant Richard Kaponda said when the girl’s body went back to Dowa for burial, people organised themselves not to allow the burial to take place unless their fellows who were arrested by police were released.
Hundreds of people outnumbering police officers flocked to the Dowa police station on Wednesday demanding the release of their fellow villagers arrested on the previous day suspected of damaging and setting ablaze a house of the suspected woman.
The development did not go well with the police who started shooting into the air inorder to disperse the angry crowd resulting in running battles bringing business to a standstill at the boma.
Teargas flooded all over the Dowa boma, offices of the District Council and Dowa District Hospital which saw patients and guardians being caught in clouds of smoke.
Schoolchildren also joined the mob, a clear testimony that classes were disrupted.
The body of the dead child was kept at Dowa police station on Wednesday night.
Kaponda confirmed in an early morning interview that two Traditional Authorities Msakambewa and Chiwere have been invited to hold discussions with the police and their subjects to map the way forward for burial to take place today.
Kaponda said all the suspects arrested during the fracas including the suspected woman are being remanded at Maula Prison in Lilongwe and will appear in court to answer various charges.
He said the Police will open up a murder case against the woman because postmortem results from Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe are revealing that death of the child was due to strangulation of her neck.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports are indicating that two babies died at the Dowa District Hospital in the district due to suffocation from teargas.