One killed, three arrested following Malawi land clashes

Lilongwe- Malawi (PANA) -- Three people have been arrested in the northern Malawi border district of Karonga following violent clashes over land that left one dead this past weekend.
Karonga police assistant commissioner Clement Juwa, told PANA Monday five others seriously injured in the skirmishes were recuperating in hospital.
Trouble begun when villagers from Mponda and Chakwera in the Chief Kilipula area confronted each other over the disputed land.
Juwa said there has been a long-running dispute over the "fertile" piece of land, which lies in a "no-man's" portion on the boundary of the two villages.
According to District Administration records, villagers from Mponda cultivated the land before, but for some reasons later abandoned it.
When the Chakweras took it over, the Mponda's demanded the land back.
An earlier clash over the same piece of land in February left at least 12 people seriously injured.
The Mponda's took the issue to the High Court, which ruled in their favour.
The Chakweras would not accept the court's ruling.
Chief Chakwera is currently in prison for contempt.
The villagers used knives, sticks, stones and a hunting gun during the weekend clashes.
"It was an unbelievable scene.
It was total war," he said.
Armed police officers have since been deployed in the villages to prevent further clashes, while officials from the district administration and Ministry of Land are mediating in the dispute.

04 march 2002 13:09:00

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