Muslims and members of Apostolic Church in Mangochi went on rampage on Tuesday, 27 November 2013 breaking into shops and other premises.
It had to take the police to use tear gas to bring sanity to the situation
The incident happened when the Muslims who were at the Magistrate court in solidarity with their friends who was answering charges of breach of peace after being accused of chasing a pork seller from Mangochi market joined another group which were protesting the shooting of people including pupils by Chapalamawamba Forest Reserve game rangers.
About 6 people were seriously injured after being shot by the game rangers when they were protesting against the eviction of the Apostolic Church members from the forest which they have been encroaching for so many years.
Among the shot, one is the member of the Apostolic Church and five are pupils who were coming from school. An eye witness told this website the pupils met their fate when they were coming from school when they passed by the forest to see what is happening after hearing the commotion.
One official from Mangochi Police Station who spoke on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to talk to the media confirmed the incident in an interview with Malawi Muslims Official Website but he said he could not confirm about the pupils.
The source also said no any police involved in the shooting.
Efforts to talk to the game rangers official proved futile.
The Muslims, who were attending the court session, say that they became angry because presiding judge Mjigo asked the defendant to mention which law he was enforcing by chasing people who sell pork at the market.
In response, the defendant replied that he was following the laws from the Bible but the judge rebuffed him that Malawi is a secular state and is not governed by any religious laws. The Muslim perceived the magistrate’s explanation as a deliberate move to find reasons of convicting the defendant.
Noting the tension in the courtroom, the judge adjourned the case to Thursday but the Muslims refused, threatening that they will stone the magistrate court should they not pronounce the judgment the same day, so he told them to come in the afternoon at 2pm.
As they were coming out of the courtroom in the morning, they noticed the commotion outside, where people were running away from game rangers and upon learning about the shooting of the 6 people, the Muslims joined the other residents and started breaking into People’s Metro shop, Hot Pot Lodge among other places forcing the business in Mangochi to come to a standstill.
Meanwhile, the judge has still adjourned the case to Monday December 2, 2013 for judgment.