Fights between Anglican and Muslims erupted this morning in Balaka after learners were sent back from a school run by the Anglican Church for wearing hijab.
Members of the Muslim community, angered by the school’s decision, stormed M’manga Anglican Church which runs the primary school. The group damaged the church and the priest’s house.
In retaliation, the Christians went to Mangochi Turn-Off Mosque where they broke windows and pelted stones at the building. Shops were also damaged during the fracas.
According to reports, several people suffered injuries due to the violence and some were taken to hospital.
One teacher at M’manga School who is a Muslim has also been evicted from his house.
Police who responded to the fracas fired teargas to disperse the warring group.
The row over hijab has disrupted classes at the school for over a month. The school is run by the Anglican Church but Muslims in the area argue that people living around the school are usually involved in development projects at the school hence they are also part owners.
In a related development, young people from communities around Chipala Primary School at Area 50 in Lilongwe clashed with learners from the school over the school management’s decision to build classroom blocks at a ground near the school.
The villagers argue that they use the ground to play football. Police officers who rushed to the scene were chased away by the learners.