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Msundwe rape probe drags

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A month after the police announced the launch of investigations into reports of rape and defilement at Msundwe and other areas in Lilongwe, uncertainty surrounds the completion of the exercise.

National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, on Thursday said it was not their fault that the probe has dragged.

“The delay came because of the unavailability of the survivors but things are now going on smoothly. We will be through any time from now,” he said.

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Police launched the investigation on December 31 2019 and a team of six investigators were due to provide the report after 14 days.

Kadadzera, however, said the police failed to release the report due to lack of cooperation from the survivors whenever they were called for interrogation.

This was amid social media reports that police were also abusing the survivors during the investigation.

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Failure by the police to release the report forced Women Lawyers’ Association of Malawi last month to take legal action against the security agency.

The association argued that no concrete action has been taken, despite a Malawi Human Rights Commission report indicating that some law enforcers raped and defiled girls and women late last year.

The police allegedly abused the girls and women in retaliation after a mob in Msundwe killed a senior police officer Usumani Imedi when, alongside his team, he was trying to stop protesters from blocking a road.

Human Rights Defenders Coalition Vice Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said they were not surprised by the delay because the police being the culprits, were shielding their colleagues from facing the law.

“The police are not serious and we cannot trust the commission that was instituted because they are shielding each other. These police officers were sanctioned by higher authorities. We will continue fighting for the justice of women on the matter,” he said.

Several civil society organisations that advocate for rights of women including, NGO-Gender Coordination Network and Women Manifesto called for the immediate arrest of police suspects in the case.

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