European Union (EU) mission in the country have noted with concern the report by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) says it has established that police officers raped 13 women, defiled one girl and sexually assaulted three under-18 girls in an October 8 operation around Msundwe on the outskirts of Lilongwe City and wants the matter to reach its logical conclusion.
MHRC said its investigation established that the police officers raped the women as they fled violent scenes.
In the statement, EU calls for “swift and decisive” action by authorities while providing urgently all the necessary full support to the victims of sexual violence.
The EU has reiterated its strong partnership with the Malawi Government and other stakeholders to end sexual and gender-based violence notably through the Spotlight partnership it has with the United Nations (UN) and said it stands ready to assist.
Reads the statement in part: “The EU continues to stand ready to provide further support through its ongoing governance programmes in Malawi.”
In an investigation report commissioners Martha Chizuma (who is also the Ombudsman) and Mary Kanyuka said there were almost 100 police officers deployed in three teams stationed at M’mbwatalika, Msundwe and Mpingu trading centres along the Lilongwe-Mchinji Road, with others roving in communities where they allegedly tear-gassed people to displace them.
“In the course of their operations of clearing the road, controlling the crowds and making arrests, some police officers ventured into the villages and nearby locations throwing tear gas into houses, beating [people] and breaking into houses.
“As a result, most people, especially men and the youth, fled their village to their gardens, leaving the villages deserted. Some of the women who were left in the villages as others fled or arrived in the village while others fled met police officers who violently beat them, raped and indecently assaulted them, ” reads the report/
The report further exposed that the incidents happened in Mpingu where eight of the 17 survivors were sexually assaulted and raped while the remaining met their predicaments in M’bwatalika.
MHRC has recommended that the acting Inspector General of Police Duncain Mwapasa should institute criminal investigations into the matter and that the probe should target police officers deployed in Mpingu and M’bwatalika on the day.
The officers were led by superintendents Kantchowa, Chisale and Msukwa and Inspector Chipofya (all presented without their first names in the report.)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :