Following recent reports of alleged coup plotters, police yesterday picked up and put Malawi's former president Bakili Muluzi under house arrest. Lilongwe-based Journalist Bright Sonani gives eyewitness accounts as events unfolded at Kamuzu International Aiport in Lilongwe where Muluzi was picked as he arrived from a trip from the UK:
After the dramatic arrest right inside the Kamuzu International Aiport grounds at around 2.45 pm, the UDF Chairman was 30 minutes later whisked into a waiting Malawi Armed Forces Military Plane the 16 Seater Dornier which flew him straight to Blantyre.
Muluzi’s son Atupele confirmed that his father has been charged with treason.
However, government yesterday declined to immediately comment on the arrest which drew tension inside the city of Lilongwe with running battles between the police and UDF supporters who, angered, with the development closed roads especially those leading to KIA…..
“They have arrested the former President apparently on treason charges. They don’t have a warrant, they refused him to leave the airport, they want to take him in a military aircraft to an undisclosed location,” said Atupele, who was the only top UDF politician and Muluzi’s closest ally allowed into the airport grounds, soon after the arrest.
Soon after the arrest Police also instantly moved in to disarm the former head of state’s government security personnel.
The arrest of Muluzi has followed eight senior security and opposition political figures who have since been granted bail.
Meanwhile Malawi's president Bingu wa Mutharika is in Japan for a meeting of African leaders.