Two Burundian refugees, Emmanuel Sekanao and Dezire Bintuari who are answering charges of attempted murder and grievous harm for allegedly shooting a naturalized Malawian of Rwandan origin, Vincent Niyongira had on Wednesday resorted to harass a Times Group reporter, Watipaso Mzungu for taking pictures at the court.
Their case resumed on Wednesday at Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Court but after the case was adjourned the two suspects together with their friends grabbed the journalist who was taking pictures of the accused as they took exit from court room in attempt to beat him and confiscate his camera.
Veteran journalist, Mzungu, was rescued by a team of journalists who came to cover the case proceedings.
Court records indicates that the two in company with a Malawian, 27year old Davie Paseli of T/A Kadewere in Chiradzulu district, shot businessman Niyongira in Salima on July 10 last year.
The case resumed with the state parading four witnesses.
Standing in the witness box, a Nkhotakota based agro-dealer Gift Mwale told Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate Violet Chipawo that Paseli, also an agro-dealer, called him to a meeting in Salima to discuss some business.
“When I arrived in Salima, I met Paseli and Bintuari who told me to find a hit man to kill a certain businessman. I was promised K500 000 for the job and K1 million for the hit man once the mission has been completed.
“I couldn’t believe this because it was not what I was expecting to be the agenda of the topic. It’s something that I had never done before. I left for Blantyre for business, whilst there, I received a call from Paseli informing me that a certain businessman, a Mr Vincent has been shot in Salima. So he wanted to find out if I was part of the mission which I denied. I immediately called Salima police that I have some information on the shooting,” said Mwale who told the court during cross examination that he has never been on the wrong side of the law before.
Both the second, third and fourth witnesses, Niyongira’s guard Moffat Gondwe, Niyongira’s daughter Pemphero and son Elisha respectively identified Sekanawo as someone who was involved in the shooting.
The court also heard that Sekanawo was also identified by the witnesses during a parade at Salima Police Station.
Gondwe said he wrestled with Sekanawo as he was about to close the gate when his boss was retiring from business as the other two unknown assailants followed the minibus in which Niyongira was driving as he entered into the compound.
“I argued with the suspects for a few minutes before I heard a gunshot. We both let go of the gate as I rushed to where my boss was parking the vehicle as the assailants run away. There is no way I can forget him because although it was partially dark, the security lights were on and we were just below one of the bulbs,” said Gondwe.
Pamela told the court that they found Sekanawo at the gate 30 minutes before the shooting.
“I greater him thinking he is one of the many people who come home either looking for work or financial assistance from dad,” She told the court.
Elisha identified Sekanawo as a person who peeped thrice into the shop earlier during the day before he saw him at the gate almost 30 minutes before the shooting.
Senior Resident Magistrate Chipawo adjourned the case to August 23 where the state will parade more witnesses.
The prosecution indicated that they have nine witnesses in total.
According to court records, the victim survived as the bullet only pierced through his left upper arm and was rushed to Salima District Hospital where he was treated.
Niyongira’s lawyer Lugano Mwabutwa applied to the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to prosecute the case and change the charges from attempted murder so that it should be heard at the lower court for speedy trial, an application which the office granted.
Local media reports indicates that some refugees who live outside their designated camps, are committing serious crimes such as homicide.