Police at Jenda trading centre in Mzimba District have arrested 18 community members and three village heads from Traditional Authority Mzikubola after foiling their alleged plan to torch Jenda Police Station.
The 21 allegedly embarked on the mission to rescue their friend who was being held hostage at the station.
In an interview on Tuesday, Jenda Police Station spokesperson Mcfarlen Mseteka said the suspects were arrested on Monday morning when they raided the station, but were overpowered by police officers.
He said on Sunday night police officers stormed Ehehleni Village to arrest people who accused Jessy Chirwa and Bernard Chirwa of practising witchcraft.
Mseteka said between August and September this year, three village heads, namely Paul Chipokosa Chirwa, 71, Christopher Chirwa, 66, and Yolamu Chirwa led their communities in engaging a witchdoctor from Zambia who accused the Chirwas of practising witchcraft.
He said: “The people who accused the Chirwas of practising witchcraft also reportedly stole money and three bags of maize from Jessy valued at K468 000.
“They also ransacked Bernard’s property valued at K750 000.” In December 2022, police in the district arrested 20 people for allegedly harassing two old women in T/A Kampingo Sibande over witchcraft allegations.
The group reportedly accused Christina Mphande from Mandala Village of bewitching her daughter-in-law who died in South Africa.
Senior Chief Kampingo Sibande suspended group village head Zebediah Ziyiri and village heads Mandala Zimba and Alufeyo Mbale over the matter.
Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that no one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Malawi’s Witchcraft Act of 1911 does not recognise the existence of witchcraft and states that it is an offence to accuse anyone of practising witchcraft