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Msundwe probe targets cops

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George Kainja

Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General George Kainja has said fresh investigations into the rape scandal that happened in Lilongwe’s Msundwe and Mbwatalika areas would help officials identify police officers involved in the malpractice.

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), MPS and Women Lawyers Association (WLA) Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signifying the commencement of fresh criminal investigations, scheduled to be concluded in the next two months.

Briefing reporters in Lilongwe, Kainja implored the public to trust the outcome of fresh criminal investigations.

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“Previous investigations were found wanting by courts, MHRC and other stakeholders. So, for purposes of transparency, we need to act on the voice of reason that is outside there, in terms of carrying out fresh investigations. We are giving ourselves a minimum of two months to come up with a progress report,” he said

The police chief observed that, with the first criminal investigations, the police were unable to identify the suspects, stressing that the current investigations would involve parading over 300 police officers who were deployed during the operation.

He said the investigations would go beyond the 18 women that were identified as victims.

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WLA representative Hilda Soko observed that the absence of timely identification and prosecution of culprits forced the victims to pursue civil claims.

She said the compensation that the 18 women received was a result of the Police’s failure to identify the culprits and not for being raped and defiled as the matter is criminal.

MHRC Executive Secretary Habiba Osman said they had “endorsed the terms of reference based on the independent work that was done by stakeholders”.

United Nations representative Sabina Laubes said they were committed to providing technical support throughout the process irrespective of the outcome.

Eighteen months ago, MHRC released an investigative report which revealed that police officers raped 13 women, defiled one girl and sexually assaulted three under-18 girls on October 8 2019.

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