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Police irk MHRC over Msundwe rape saga

FLASHBACK— Activists protest Msundwe atrocities

George Kainja

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has expressed dissatisfaction with sentiments by the Malawi Police Service (MPS) that they are failing to identify the actual culprits in the Msundwe rape case, in which police officers were implicated.

After Inspector General of Police George Kainja indicated last week that they were unable to conclusively hold any of their officers accountable, the commission says it will move to engage the law enforcers to appreciate their position on the matter.

MHRC Director of Civil and Political Rights Peter Chisi said, after they made recommendations to MPS in the 2019 report, they were yet to get official feedback from the law enforcers.

“The the commission has committed to engage the police on the matter and hear from them, just that some commissioners have been busy. We intend to table a number of cases that have seen no progress,” Chisi said.

He said they would continue to engage MPS on the matter.

“We understand, from unofficial sources, that they are considering an independent investigation and we are willing to hear them out,” he said.

In its report, MHRC asked the Inspector General of Police to institute criminal investigations targeting police officers who were deployed to Msundwe and surrounding areas, further recommending a properly guided identification parade.

But Kainja said they have been discussing with the United Nations, which would provide resources and identify an expert for a new round of investigations.

Two weeks ago, the High Court sitting in Lilongwe ordered the government to compensate the victims after an the investigation by MHRC officials established that, during an operation in October 2019, 17 police officers allegedly raped 13 women, defiled one girl and sexually assaulted three teenagers.

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