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Murder, defilement cases surge—police

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Murder, defilement, and rape cases have increased in 2019 compared to last year.

Commissioner of Police for the Southern Region Sledge Yoosuf said this during a Christmas party police officers had in Blantyre over the weekend.

After what they called hard work throughout the year, police officers in the Southern Region and their spouses gathered to celebrate and reflect on the year.

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Yoosuf said murder cases increased by 122 from 475 in 2018 to 597 cases representing 25.7 percent.

He said in 2019, rape cases increased with 21 cases from 177 to 198 representing 11.9 percent while defilement cases increased with 192 cases from 1,496 to 1,618 representing 13.5 percent.

Yoosuf said while the increase in the murder cases was worrisome, police registered more defilement and rape cases due to an increase in help seeking behaviour among victims.

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“More and more people are coming to seek assistance at our victim support units (VSU) after being raped or defiled. In fact, VSU is one of our units which is doing well. We have also improved our record keeping methods and that is why these cases recording has improved,” he said.

Yoosuf said the police are no longer hiding information on criminal cases saying hiding such information has not been helping the situation on the ground.

He then urged the police to work hand in hand with the public saying they are key to ending crime.

He noted that both perpetrators and victims of such crimes live together in the community saying close coordination between the police and the communities remains key in the fight against any form of crime.

“No matter what happens, no matter the misunderstandings, the answer does not lie in destroying police establishments,” he said.

Malawi has seen probably the worst police-communities relations in recent times especially after the May 21 elections where several police units have been burnt by irate citizens.

At Msundwe in Lilongwe, an irate mob killed a police officer, Usumani Imedi, during a fracas between police and community members. In retaliation, some police officers allegedly raped and defiled 17 women and girls in the area.

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