Villagers damage police unit in Rumphi


Angry villagers in Rumphi have damaged Hewe Police Unit in the district in protest against the arrest of three people over witchcraft accusations.

According to public relations officer for Rumphi Police Inspector Henry Mnjere, the incident happened on Thursday at Hewe, TA Katumbi in Rumphi.

Mnjere said a child belonging to the Kachale family in Hewe went missing in 2012. The family recently called for a witch-finder, Machilitso Mwale, from Ntchisi.

Mwale announced that the missing boy was alive and that he was being kept in the house of an old woman, Selina Kachale, of the same village.

The witchdoctor created a scene at the woman’s house as he entered the house through the roof. However, to the disappointment of his spectators, he never found the boy.

The woman reported the matter to Hewe Police Post where officers rushed to the scene and arrested Griffin Kachale, Winnie Kachale and Madalitso Mwale. The three were charged with charging a person of practicing witchcraft.

Later, angry villagers rushed to Hewe Police demanding the release of the arrested suspects. However, police had already transferred the suspects to Rumphi Police Station.

This did not please the angry mob who started stoning the police post until they damaged windows, doors and all furniture inside.

One of the officers who was on duty at the time was injured and has been treated as an out-patient at Katowo Health Center.

Meanwhile, the total value of the damaged property has not been established.

The police have since condemned the tendency of some people who take the law into their own hands and interfere with them in the administration of justice.

The three suspects will appear in court soon to answer a case of charging a person of practicing witchcraft.

Griffin Kachale 57, and Winnie kachale 60, hail from Katamaji village, Traditional Authority Katumbi in Rumphi District, while Machilitso Mwale, 60, hails from Kasakula Village, Traditional Authority Kasakula in Ntchisi District.