British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett has decried allegations that police raped women and girls in and around Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika areas on the outskirts of Lilongwe in retaliation to the killing of a cop in the area.
She has described the allegations as serious and disturbing.
“These allegations have a bearing on police/public trust. These reports are disturbing,” said Tett in Blantyre on Wednesday after opening a three-day training on investigations of trafficking in persons for 32 police and immigration officers.
Tett urged the police to work on restoring the lost public trust if it is to perform its duties effectively.
She said allegations of police brutality and clashes between the public and the police such as the ones at Msundwe Township in Lilongwe make it difficult for police to combat crime including trafficking in persons.
The British diplomat has since asked the police to do a thorough investigation on the issue.
“The UK believes that the best way to restore the police/public trust is through a thorough investigation,” said Tett.
A women rights body revealed of the serious allegations of rape of women and girls by the police in retaliation for the killing of Superintendent Usumani Imedi of the Malawi Police Mobile (MPS) Service on October 8, who was deployed to the area to restore peace and calm after violence.
But Youth and Society executive director Charles Kajoloweka argues that the inquiry by Malawi police may lack credibility and impartiality.
“We strongly doubt the credibility and impartiality of the internal investigations instituted by the police. Experience shows that such approaches are merely cover-ups to shield officers from facing the law,” he said.