Lilongwe’s Mitundu trading centre, the home of first lady Calista Mutharika, was a scene of unprecedented riots on Monday which left, a police unit destroyed, seven police houses set on fire and 49 people arrested.
The residents were apparently angry with police after the killing of Maliko Chapola, a local businessman and distant relation to the first lady.
“After the killing of Chapola we said enough is enough and decided that we needed to demonstrate against the behaviour of police,” said one Mitundu resident identified only as Lameck.
Lameck said that they suspected that police had a hand in the killing and other recent armed robberies in the area.
Mitundu is over 30 kilometers outside Lilongwe.
Central Region Police deputy spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula said 49 people had been arrested and were sent to Lilongwe Police station for remand as they await charges.
“We have not yet charged them but probably they will be charged with malicious damage and arson,” he said.
The riots continued way into late evening. The latest figures of what has been destroyed and how many have been arrested is expected later today.
Anger towards police officers has been building across the country the July 20 riots that left 20 people shot dead.
The recent death of Robert Chasowa, an engineering student, has also implicated police and worsened the relationship between the public and the security officers.