Lilongwe’s Old town in Lock down, as violence spreads to townships

Running for dear life as police fire tear gas

After police locked down Lilongwe’s old town, violence spread to townships in the capital forcing police to make over 40 arrests.

Chinsapo, Likuni, Kawale, Mchesi, Area 22, 23 and 36 witnessed riots as angry vendors broke into shops belonging to Burundi nationals.

“After they were chased from the market centre these people went into townships and started breaking shops especially those belonging to Burundians. Some even put up road blocks stopping vehicles to demand money,” said John Namalenga, police spokesman for the region.

Police in Lilongwe dressed in new anti-riot gear locked down Lilongwe’s busiest area of Malangalanga and Bwalo La njovu to stop angry vendors from destroying property in protests.

The lock down saw tear gas being fired, as vendors blocked roads with stones and burning tyres. This is the fifth time police have clashed with vendors in the last six months

To stop the imminent violence, Police blocked all four entry points into Bwalo La njovu starting from Lilongwe Bridge.

They also blocked the road on the Mosque leading into Malangalanga where the main bus terminals and the biggest kaunjika (second hand) market are situated..

As police fired teargas, vendors could be seen pouring water on the canisters and throwing them back.

Lilongwe police spokesman John Namalenga said no arrests have been made. He also said that police are going to be in the area until peace returns.

Unregistered vendors in Bwalo La njovu and Malangalanga came under fire  last month when they  imposed a dress code striping women dressed in trousers and mini-skirts naked.