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Monday, June 1, 2020

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Thugs terrorize Malawi opposition, civil society groups with petrol bombs

Suspected political thugs affiliated to Malawi ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have been on rampage in cities and villages, terrorizing the opposition ranks and civil society groups since the standoff of the May presidential elections.

In the early hours of Friday the thugs petrol bombed a vehicle belonging to Malawi Congress Party (MCP) campaign director Moses Kunkuyu.

The police confirmed the incident, saying that the thugs attacked Kunkuyu home in Nancholi, Blantyre in the early hours of Friday.

The MCP director of campaigns said that the security guard at his property raised an alarm when he noticed the gang and they hurriedly threw the petrol bombs on his car.

One of the thug could be heard screaming ‘hit the car’ as another launches the petrol bomb into the air, a guard said when interviewed.

Similarly, Timothy Mtambo, a leading human rights activist and protest organiser in Malawi, says his rural home was also petrol bombed, days after a similar incident happened at his house in the capital, Lilongwe.

The attacks are thought to be part of intimidation tactics to deter him from organising demonstrations over the alleged rigging of elections held in May, BBC Monitoring reports.

Mr Mtambo confirmed the attack on his home in Ishalikila village in a private Facebook post, saying it had occurred at around 02.00 local time on Thursday.

“Is this the democracy we fought for?” he wrote.

Earlier this week he said “we are scared. Are we going to continue with a government which is supposed to protect us as civilians and is now targeting us?”

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition, which Mr Mtambo leads, plans to stage mass protests at airports and other border crossings from next week.

President Peter Mutharika, who won re-election in May, has vowed to deploy the military to all borders and airports to prevent any disruptions by the demonstrators.

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