Dowa Chief killed over witchcraft allegations

Police in Dowa say three men have been killed by a mob which accused them of practicing witchcraft.

The killings on Sunday in the two villages of Kachiwaya and Kanyumbo in the area of Traditional Authority Chiwere are the latest in a series of mob justice incidences over witchcraft allegations in Malawi.

Four people were also killed by a mob over witchcraft allegations in Karonga District in December 2019.

Dowa Police Spokesperson Gladson M’bumpha identified the latest victims as Village Headman Kachiwawa whose real name is Master Gogo Kachiwawa, 56, Jenala Chidzele and Sintuma Siliya.

M’bumpha said both the Village Headman and Jenala Chidzele were burnt to death, while Sintuma Siliya was beaten to death.

“On May 28 2020 villagers accused Village Headman Kachiwaya of bewitching his nephew who on May 18 2020 was involved in a fatal road accident and all the properties of Village Headman were burnt to ashes but he escaped,” he said.

“On Sunday May 31 2020, the same villagers mobilised themselves and picked him from Lilongwe where he went to seek refugee on pretence that they were taking him to police.”

“When the mob brought Village Headman Kachiwaya to the village, they burnt him and left him on the same ground until police in conjunction with Malawi Defence Force soldiers went to the village and recovered the unattended body.”

M’bumpha said four suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the incident.

“On the second incident on May 31 2020, villagers from Kanyumbo Village and nearby villages upon hearing the news that villagers from Kachiwaya Village had burnt to death the Village Headman, they too also hunted for the second deceased Jenala Chidzele and Sintuma Siliya whom they had been suspecting to be witches,” he said.

“The villages got hold of the deceased and beat him to death and later burnt him. Later, they chased Sintuma Siliya and beat her and she is currently missing.”

“Police in conjunction with MDF soldiers of Mvera Support Battalion recovered the dead body of Jenala Chidzele and arrested six suspects.”

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