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Bail delay for ‘coup plotters’ worries DPP

The eleven people implicated in the succession stand off immediately after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika have spent a third day in police custody following failure to obtain bail on Tuesday.

The eleven, who include current and former cabinet ministers, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and government officials, were arrested on Monday following the release of a commission of inquiry report on events surrounding the death of the former president.

DPP interim leader Peter Mutharika is facing charges of soliciting to break the law and tendering false evidence to the commission of inquiry.

Other DPP officials including former chief secretary to the government Bright Msaka and Economic planning minister Good all Gondwe have been charged with sedition and soliciting to break the law.

They were to appear in court at the Lilongwe magistrates on Tuesday but failed due to further Police investigations on their case, according to government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu.

They are now scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, the information minister Kunkuyu said.

Speaking to Capital fm, DPP treasurer General George Chaponda expressed concern over the delay by the authorities to release the suspects on bail.

He also comments on the party’s sympathizers who have been engaged in running battles with the Police since arrests were made.

“We are advising our supporters as always that they should be law abiding without damaging property. Of course they have reacted this way because they have been provoked. So when they have been provoked its very difficult for us to advise them otherwise.

‘Chaos’

Police had to fire teargas canisters to disperse scores of DPP sympathizers at Lumbadzi Police station in the capital Lilongwe on Tuesday after they went rampant.

The station is where the suspects are being kept.

It all started when the sympathizers thought the suspects including the DPP interim leader Peter Mutharika, were going to be taken to court for bail application using the Police van which is popularly known as Chimbaula.

Our reporters say the supporters demanded to see inside the Van and when two of them were allowed in, it is alleged that the officers inside started beating them which angered their colleagues who started throwing stones.

The commotion left two of the party’s supporters seriously injured.

‘More injuries’

A police officer of the Southern Region police headquarters in the commercial capital Blantyre was severely beaten by the DPP supporters, soon after their leaders Peter handed himself in to the police.

A student at the University of Malawi’s Polytechnic, which is closer to the police station, also fainted after being manhandled by the alleged supporters.

The police had to fire teargas canisters to disperse the rioting DPP supporters.

The Chipembere Highway was also temporarily closed following the riots.

Meanwhile, members of the public are the criticizing the conduct of the DPP supporters, describing their acts as “a sign of ignorance”.

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