Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bangwe residents riot

By Emmanuel Sobilika

There were running battles on Tuesday between anti-riot police and rioters in Bangwe Township in Malawi’s commercial city, Blantyre when some members of the public went on rampage damaging property and blocking roads.

The members of the public’s behaviour, was in response to another alleged incident where a foreign national of Asian origin was caught throwing over 10 lemons in a river on Tuesday.

The people of Bangwe suspect the throwing of these items in one of rivers there is connected to Satanism that causes numerous road accidents on the Limbe-Bangwe-Mulanje highway.

The most recent incident comes barely a month after a similar incident last month where a man of Asian decent was caught throwing three chickens and some lemons in a Bangwe river.

Coincidentally, the point of the river where he was throwing the chickens is where a lot of accidents often times occur on this road.

In the earlier incident, the vehicle he was driving was smashed beyond repair and members of the public also blocked roads and anti-riot police had to move in to rescue the situation.

Then, a man of mixed-race was arrested by the Police for his involvement in the incident but was later left scot-free by the Police about two weeks ago, saying they could not charge him of anything as the incident was witchcraft related.

In the latest incident on Tuesday according to eye witnesses, a man of Asian origin from the neighbouring Republic of Mozambique was caught by members of the public trying to throw over 10 lemons in the same river. Eye witnesses say all the lemons were cut in the middle and had a small thread.

According to Limbe Police spokesperson Chifundp Chibwezo, the man has been identified as Mohamed Rafik.

According the Police spokesperson, Rafik told the Police he was throwing the lemons in the river as a way of trying to get his sister healed from an illness back home in Mozambique.

“He alleged he was given this advice by a sheikh at Hajra mosque in Limbe,” said the Police publicist.

However, when Malawi Digest visited Hajra mosque and confronted the said sheikh as alleged by the Mozambican, he denied meeting and advising the man of Asian origin.

Eye witnesses say that Mohamed Rafik arrived at the river in a grey Rav4 motor vehicle with three other men all of Asian origin.

He is reported to have come out of the vehicle with a plastic bag which apart from the lemons also contained sweets and chocolates.

In the process of throwing the plastic bag, members of the public caught him where upon being questioned and giving unsatisfactory answers, he was beaten up severely.

Meanwhile his colleagues disappeared with the motor vehicle leaving Rafik behind.

It is in the process of the beating up that a Bangwe businessman rushed in with his vehicle to rescue the Mozambican from the mob.

The businessman, a Gambatuka took the victim to Limbe Police a development that angered the residents of Bangwe who alleged he was also connected to Satanism.

The public then went on rampage destroying property at the residence of Gambatuka. They also blocked roads in the township.

Police fired tear gas canisters in order to disperse the mob and clear the roads.

Meanwhile, Police are still interrogating Mohamed Rafik to get to the bottom of the story-Malawi Digest.


  1. "...but was later left scot-free by the Police about two weeks ago, saying they could not charge him of anything as the incident was witchcraft related". If such people will be left scot free when they could be charged with something else like littering or damaging the environment, the people of Bangwe will continue to take the law into their own hands. I am sure the suspect could have been taken to task.

  2. I agree with you entirely. The Police should have found a more related case that just letting him scot-free.

    How can someone explain the dumping of three chickens in a river and say he is free?

    Even the Muslim Assocition of Malawi has distanced itself from the claims that the dumping was for religious purposes.

    Police come on, you are forcing people to take the law into their own hands.

  3. Why should only foreigners more especially be the only ones dumping in our rivers?

    I condemn this behaviour.

  4. Bangwe residents please when they come again amwenyewa, tiye nawoni. Why don't they dump in Mudi river which is closer to their residences or Limbe river?

  5. Mod justice is not good. Let the Police do their job otherwise foreigners will start shunning our country.

  6. The issue of Bangwe needs proper attention by the Police because it may lead to bloodshed chaos,suppose the Bangwe Residents gang up and go to Siku Transport managements's residence to pay back on their own hands?
    Am wondering that the Police to date have not made any follow up as per the Shekh Chabulika's denial that the act done by Siku are not in line with Muslim Ethics and beliefs.
    The Police should take into consideration that Siku is a transporter and Bangwe people if not Blantyre residents might gang up and decide to take the law in their own hands by seeing that the Police are not acting in any way to address this episode.
    Remember their is a belief that many people have lost their lives through accidents at this place and everybody knows the pain of death of a beloved one.

    On the Muluzi and his brother's issue let proper investigations be done before we make alot of noise on this sensitive issue.