Saturday, February 22, 2014

Twenty Zambians Held in Malawi
By Staff Reporters
Fri 29 Nov. 2013, 11:00 CAT

TWENTY Zambians are currently being held in Malawi's Kasungu Prison after being convicted of encroaching in Kasungu National Park.

According to a statement issued by Chansa Kabwela who is First Secretary Press, the 20 nationals with eight others, all of chief Chanje's area in Chipata, were arrested last Sunday and charged with illegally settling in a game management area, illegally cutting trees and cultivating in a game management area, and illegally hunting game in a protected area.

They were then taken to the Kasungu First Grade Magistrates Court where they were prosecuted on Monday and found guilty of contravening the National Parks and Wildlife Act of Malawi. Of the 28, eight were given suspended sentences on account of old age and poor health while 20 were each fined MK45,000 (K675) in default three years imprisonment.

The 20 are yet to source money to pay for them to be released.

Zambia's High Commissioner to Malawi Charles Banda noted with sadness the predicament the Zambians nationals were in.

High Commissioner Banda appealed to traditional leaders in Chipata and well-wishers to help the Zambians with finances so that they could be released from prison.

High Commissioner Banda urged chief Chanje to look for alternative land in Zambia for his subjects so that they do not return to Kasungu National Park once they are released from prison.

The problem of encroachment in Kasungu National Park arose from the demarcation of the boundary between Zambia and Malawi and nationals of both countries have in the past been relocated from the park to other areas. In July this year, Zambian nationals of chief Mwasempangwe's area who were in the park were resettled successfully on the Zambian side.

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