Police in Zomba arrested five students from Malawi College of Health Sciences (Zomba Campus) during what the students called early morning demonstration on Wednesday.
The students blocked the Zomba-Limbe M3 Road behind Zomba Central Hospital with tyres, cement blocks and tree branches. They burnt tyres denying any vehicle to pass through.
Zomba Police Station Public Relations Officer, Patricia Sipiliano confirmed the arrest of the three female and two male students when police officers went to disperse the demonstrators.
“Yes, it is true. We have arrested five students from Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS), out of whom three are females,” Sipiliano said.
She further said police are expecting to arrest more students on the matter and more details would be provided.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on condition of anonymity, one of the students said they were protesting against the prolonged strike by their lecturers at the campus who were demanding salary increment from government.
He said the strike has negatively affected classes at the campus, claiming that some students were failing to go for attachment in different health institutions due to the teaching staff strike.
The students challenged to continue holding such demonstrations without seeking permission from police and district or city council until their lecturers are returned to work.
Meanwhile, some guardians at Zomba Central Hospital have commended the police for responding swiftly and professionally to the situation.
One of the guardians, Angella Masina said the situation could have been worse if the police arrived late and handled the situation unprofessionally.
“There was no access to Zomba Central, Mental hospital and district health office as the protestors blocked the main road,” Masina said.
She added that the situation could also have increased chances of escape to the inmates at Zomba Central Prison who were working in the garden just along the road.
Masina particularly hailed the police for not firing teargas.
At the time of going to press, there was no single student available at the campus after the arrest of the five as police were still hunting for ring leaders.
The five were arrested for holding illegal demonstration.