5 nabbed in DPP July 20 machetes case
Police in Malawi have arrested five more suspects in connection with DPP cadets who wielded pangas on the eve of last year’s July 20 anti-government demonstrations.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional director of youth (South) Lewis Ngalande, who is said to have led the team, was picked on Monday.
Said national police spokesperson Dave Chingwalu last evening: “Apart from Ngalande, we have arrested five more suspects and these went to Midima Resident Magistrate’s Court in Limbe today [Tuesday].
“They are remanded to Monday next week, including Ngalande.”
Chingwalu said the suspects, whose names he did not disclose and have not been charged yet, were taken to the court to process their prison remand status, given that the 48-hour statutory holding period will have expired before the police investigations are over.
According to Ngalande’s lawyer, David Nyasulu, police are yet to record his client’s statement. Nyasulu said he was also processing Ngalande’s bail and expecting him to be taken to court this Wednesday.
In an earlier interview on Monday, Southern Region Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said Ngalande faces counts of intimidation, possessing of offensive weapons and conduct likely to cause breach of peace as well as obstruction of traffic.
Meanwhile, Chingwalu dismissed Tuesday’s media reports that some suspects had been picked in connection with last year’s murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa. He said no action can be made on this case as an inquiry on the same is ongoing.
‘More arrests could follow’
Some sources earlier said the suspects, arrested between Monday and Tuesday, were being kept at Soche Police Station and are linked to the DPP Youth Cadets. Online publication, Nyasatimes, also reported on the arrests, but claimed these were in connection with the Chasowa case and mentioned some suspects’ names.
Said our source: “It could be for a purpose that police is not ready to disclose now. It is possible more arrests will follow and if these arrests are made public, possible targets may escape.”
The cadets arrests come at a time a commission of inquiry appointed by President Joyce Banda to investigate circumstances surrounding Chasowa’s death is in progress. An inquest into the death of Chasowa is underway at the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court.
An autopsy by College of Medicine in Blantyre showed that Chasowa died from assault to his head inflicted by a blunt instrument or instruments rather than a fall as was earlier claimed by police that he had committed suicide by jumping from a tall building at the campus.
He was found dead at the college on September 30 2011.