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CSOs press police on Lule Buleya’s death

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By Jameson Chauluka:

Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have penned the Malawi Police Service Commission demanding investigation and arrest of police officers who were on duty when Lule Buleya died in police custody.

Buleya, a key suspect in the abduction of 14-year-old boy with albinism Goodson Makanjira, died in police custody at Area 3 Police in Lilongwe.

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Autopsy results show that Buleya was brutalised to death.

The CSOs’ letter, signed by HRDC Chairperson Timothy Mtambo, his deputy Gift Trapence and regional chairpersons, says the CSOs also want independent investigations into alleged suicide of Donald Msafiri—a suspect in the abduction of Eunice Nkhonjera in Karonga-and alleged suicide of Joseph Andiwotchi, a suspect in the abduction of Ibra Pilo, a two-year-old girl with albinism in Machinga.

“We are afraid, in our considered observation, these deaths smell of foul play. The fact that government through the Malawi Police Service has not shown any interest so far is, once again, a clear testimony that…government does not prioritise the security of its citizens especially the vulnerable, in this case persons living with albinism,” reads the letter addressed to Chairperson of the Malawi Police Service Commission and copied to Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose.

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The CSOs say delays in investigating into the abduction and killing of people with albinism validate suspicious that it is a scheme involving high profile individuals.

“We at HRDC strongly submit that there is foul play written all over the deaths of these suspects. If our police are really serious about getting to the market of the body parts of our brothers and sisters with albinism, late Buleya Lule was one person that they needed to protect. Further, the police have a duty roster that bears the names of all officers on duty,” it reads.

The letter says, considering the nature of Buleya’s death and preliminary autopsy results, police officers on duty at that particular time should be taken to task.

“Building on the late Buleya’s preliminary postmortem reports that confirmed our fears that he was assaulted to death, we call upon your office to get to the bottom of this alleged murder case. The first stop in this case is to seriously question all the officers that were involved in his arrest and interrogation,” it reads.

But in an earlier interview Deputy Inspector General of Police, Duncan Mwapasa, said the police would not comment on Buleya’s death until results of a second post-mortem were out.

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