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Police still studying MHRC Msundwe report

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Malawi Police Service (MPS) is studying Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) report which has revealed that some police officers sexually abused 17 women and girls at Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika in Lilongwe on October 8 2019.

National police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, yesterday said they would react to MHRC’s report, which on Wednesday, revealed the assault, including on four girls under the age of 18.

“We knew that they were doing investigations just like ours. We are looking at their report findings, their recommendations and we will respond accordingly,” Kadadzera said.

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He said the police would, soon, release findings of their internal commission of inquiry on the conduct of the police officers.

“We promised to look at the recommendations from the commission of inquiry and follow them to their logical conclusion because this is a very important matter. That the commission has released its findings does not affect our investigations. We are doing separate investigations using different methodologies,” Kadzadzera said.

On October 17 2019, the police announced the inquiry team, headed by Eastern Region Police Commissioner, Arlene Baluwa, promising to deal with all suspects accordingly.

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Asked about the progress of the inquiry, Baluwa yesterday said: “We are almost ready. We will soon release the report.”

Minister of Information, who is also the government’s spokesperson, Mark Botomani, said they have seen MHRC’s report and that the government will make a comment at an appropriate time.

“We hope that the report has all the detailed information and it is not biased,” he said.

MHRC reports says men, including those in police uniform, descended on the areas days after a mob in Msundwe stoned to death Police Mobile Service senior officer Usumani Imedi who had led a team that wanted to quell protests aimed at stopping people from attending President Peter Mutharika’s rally in another part of Lilongwe.

Disseminating the report at MHRC office in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Commissioner Martha Chizuma said one the 17 women were defiled and three were indecently assaulted.

“Eight of the 17 survivors were sexually assaulted, defiled and raped in Mpingu, while the rest were raped and assaulted in Mbwatalika. There was no case of sexual violence that the commission came about in Msundwe,” Chizuma said.

According to the report, some of the survivors were raped right in the presence of their children.

The report says two survivors claimed that they can identify their assailants.

Commissioner, Rose Kanyuka, said Usumani’s death was unfortunate and recommended that those responsible should face the law.

The report recommended that investigation should specifically target police officers who were deployed to Mpingu and M’bwatalika, whose teams were led by Superintendent Kantchowa, Superintendent Chisale, Superintendent Msukwa and Inspector Chipofya, and any other person that might have been involved in the commission of the mentioned offences.

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