Police in Dedza have arrested 18 people from Mapulosi Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kasumbu in the district for hacking, stripping naked and attempting to kill two women over witchcraft accusations.
All the suspects belong to Nasibeko family who are also related to the victims — Gogo Herbert and her daughter.
According to Dedza police deputy publicist Sergeant Cassim Manda, for some years, the two families have been at loggerheads over land disputes.
Nasibeko family which has multiple members became envious of Gogo Herbert, accusing her of greed after she refused to share her land with the suspects’ family.
In December last year, a clan leader of another family, Gogo Naphukira who is relative to these rival families, died after long illness.
Later, Nasibeko family started speculating rumours that Gogo Herbert was responsible for the death of Naphukira.
Eventually, last week the Nasibeko family ganged up and rose against Herbert and her daughter.
They assaulted the two with sticks, stones and pangas. The daughter to Herbert was stripped naked and was about to be set on fire when the police came to their rescue.
The victims were rushed to Dedza District Hospital where they were admitted. They have since been discharged and are currently being kept at Dedza police station.
The 18 suspects have since been charged with criminal conspiracy, charging person with witchcraft, acts intended to cause grievous harm and intimidation, insulting the modesty of woman and defamation of character, theft and malicious damages.
The suspects and victims hail from Mapulosi village in the area of Traditional Authority Kasumba in Dedza district.
Meanwhile, police in Dedza have condemned the malpractice of torture perpetrating to elderly people and women on witchcraft accusations.