Tension has risen in the old capital Zomba as a police officer on patrol shot dead a Malawi Defence (MDF) soldier of Cobbe Barracks Saturday night.

According to reports the incident occurred around 11 pm when the victim, who has been identified as Price Lameck, was coming from a beer drinking joint with his in-law and having reached the Zomba depot close a mosque, they met police who were on patrol.

It was while on their way home that they met they met patrolling police officers.

The deceased was then questioned by the police as to where he was coming from and he allegedly responded provocatively, saying he is a soldier and that the police could not question him where he was coming from.

MDF spokesman Lt Col. Francis Kakhuta-Banda confirmed that the shooting victim Lance-corporal Price Lameck from Pwandaphwanda village, TA Nkalo Chiradzulu was a soldier at Cobbe Barracks.

Currently details of the deceased are not ready as his next of kin has not been located and communicated to, he said.

To assert their authority on their duty, the police pursued him with force and a heavy struggle followed. The soldier was overpowering the police and further wanted to snatch a gun from one police officer, probably to prove his seniority, but the police officer had to, as per vow in the discipline, protect his gun.

“Though shall not lose the gun by any means” vow forced one of the police officers to shoot the soldier in the leg. Another bullet was, reportedly, delivered in the stomach before a deadly one was directed in the chest.

Before actually dying, the soldier crawled to a nearby tree and bled for an hour. His brother had, by this time, ran away. The police then abandoned the man and went on with their patrol duty.

In the wee hours of Sunday, some traders took the body to Zomba Central Hospital where it was announced dead.

Throughout Sunday, pressure had been mounting on the police as the soldiers at the Barracks were on the verge of taking the law into their hands to manhandle police officers who killed their colleague.

The incident happened barely hours after Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, instructed police officers to use any force “within the law” to curb crime.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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