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Murder cases rise in East Region

Eastern Region Police are worried with the increase in murder cases in the region, following reports that 597 people were murdered in 2019 compared to 475 in 2018.

The region’s Police Commissioner, Arlen Baluwa, disclosed the figures in Liwonde, Machinga District, on Saturday night during a dinner for senior police officers from the region.

Baluwa said they were worried that out the 587 cases, 22 involved people with albinism.

“The increase in the murder cases is a concern to us. In 2019, we registered 22 murder cases involving people with albinism.

Out them, six cases were completed in court, 10 files were investigated and suspects were arrested and their files are pending completion in court. The other eight cases are pending investigations,” she said.

Baluwa cited increased land wrangles and mob justice cases as some of the major factors that contributed to the increased murder cases in the region.

She said the police were aware that some members of the general public have lost trust in some Malawi Police Service operations due some few unprofessional officers.

“Because of that, people resort to mob justice instead of reporting cases to police. But let me assure the general public that the police will not shield any police officer found guilty of indiscipline. The police exist because of the people and we must strive to ensure that people are comfortable with our service delivery,” she said.

Baluwa also cited defilement and road traffic accidents as some of incidents that spoiled the police’s service delivery in 2019.

She said the region registered 1,618 cases of defilement in 2019 compared to 1,426 in 2018.

“On [road] traffic management, ladies and gentlemen, we are not doing fine. In 2019, we registered about 915 accidents compared to 309 accidents in 2018. About 1,163 people got killed in the process,” she said.

On public order, Baluwa said the police had a tough time dealing with demonstrations trigged by the disputed May 21 2019 tripartite elections.

Baluwa said they were geared to improve their service delivery in the year 2020.

Turner Banda, who is also Mangochi Civic Education Manager for National Initiative for Civic Education Trust, blamed the police for failing to earn public trust through prosecution of murder suspects.

“There are several factors that are leading to increasing murder cases. In most cases, police is not fully prosecuting suspects. Some of the suspects are released on bail without being prosecuted. This has led to people to stop fearing murder cases,” he said.

Banda also blamed the police for failing to detect disagreements that can lead to murder.

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