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gilrls-in-hospitalBertha and Ella Ndileke, with their mother at Karonga Hospital.
Photo by January Watchman Mvula, 25th July 2011

By Chris Crowstaff, 26th July 2011

Two teenage sisters claim they were shot in their legs while they were cooking supper on the evening of the riots in Karonga, Malawi.

On Wednesday, 20th July, citizens of Mzuzu and Lilongwe, Malawi, took to the streets in to show their frustration at the scarcity of basic resources and tax increases.

By afternoon the protests had spread to other areas in the north, including Karonga. By evening, there were reports of looting and rioting.

'Shot while making supper'

Two teenage sisters in Karonga told Safe World's Malawi correspondent, January Watchman Mvula, that they were shot at by police while they were at their home.

Bertha and Ella Ndileke, age 19 and 17, claim they were preparing their supper at 8 pm at their home on July 20th when they were both shot in the legs by the police.

The two girls are currently struggling with fractures at Karonga Hospital.

The girls told Mr Watchman, who visited them yesterday, that they had not been taking part in the demonstrations and do not know why they were shot at.

At the time of the shooting, their mother was in the bathroom while their father was in the house, they said.

The two girls, the only daughters in the family, were outside preparing their supper (the kitchen was outside the house, as is usual with most houses in the area).

Mr Watchman reports that the girls were adamant they had not taken part in the marching and they do not know why they were shot at their home.

Their parents also maintain that the girls were nowhere near Karonga shopping centre where the riots and looting were taking place and say they do not know why their family was targeted. Their house is some distance from the shopping centre.

Ella had just sat for her Malawi School Certificate of Education and is waiting for the results.

"Please let us raise the voice for these girls - I am feelng their pain", says Mr Watchman.

Amnesty International has called for for an immediate investigation into misuse of firearms by Malawi police and reports that at least eight people were shot by security forces during the demonstrations in Mzuzu, while at least 44 other people, including six children, were being treated for gunshot wounds at Mzuzu Central Hospital.

January Watchman Mvula is Executive Director of Sustainable Rural Community Development Organisation (SURCOD) in Malawi - a Safe World Field Partner.

Related articles by January Mvula:

Malawi Sisters Tell of Shooting Ordeal

Malawi: Demonstrations, Women and Poverty - Report from the Ground