By Samuel Kalimira:
A nine-year-old boy [name withheld] is in pain at St Johns Hospital in Mzuzu after his aunt allegedly burnt his legs with a charcoal burner because he reported home late from a video showroom where he went to watch a football match on Saturday.
Speaking from the hospital’s paediatric ward Tuesday, the boy said her aunt yelled at him for coming home late.
“I was assaulted and later taken into the house where she put my legs on the charcoal burner. [On Sunday], she locked me in the house and went to church,” he said.
Lincy Mhango, who is the boy’s volunteer guardian at the hospital, said she heard about the brutal act at a salon in Chiputula Township in the city.
“I stay close to their home and heard about this incident. I went to the house and rescued the boy. After I saw the wounds, which prevented him from walking, I could not hold it to myself. I informed my husband, who advised me to take the boy to hospital,” Mhango said.
Senior block leader for the area, Elias Sikwese, said he first noticed the incident after community members ganged up and wanted to torch the house of the suspect and her husband.
“People thought the husband was shielding the suspect and wanted to deal with them. I called the police and we waited for almost four hours to let them out. I, then, ordered some men who protected the husband and dragged him to police where the suspect had already handed herself to,” Sikwese said.
Mzuzu Police spokesperson, Edith Kachotsa, said the suspect will appear in court to answer the charge of intending to cause grievous harm, contrary to Section 238 of Penal Code.
Kachotsa advised parents not to take punitive measures on their children but report them to Police Victim Support Unit, Social Welfare, church and chiefs for support.
Meanwhile, Foundation for Children’s Right (FCR) Executive Director, Janipher Mkandawire—an organisation that promotes the rights of children—has condemned the incident.
“We are going to follow up on the case because we want justice on the matter. The child should have been given light punishment,” Mkandawire said.
The suspect, Mkamanga, 42, is from Mwenelenge Village, Traditional Authority Mwaulambia, in Chitipa District.