K3 million gone in Blantyre’s armed robbery

Despite government assurance that it has drawn up vibrant measures to respond to the spate of armed robberies currently taking place in some parts of the country, the problem appears developing by the day.

From Saturday to Monday, residents in Blantyre and surrounding areas have witnessed three severe armed robberies- two in Blantyre and one in Thyolo.

On Monday morning, unidentified criminals stole undisclosed amount of cash from Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) Thyolo agency and injured a customer in the process who was carrying out his financial transaction.

Police chief Loti Dzonzi: Don't harrass suspects

The incident occurred just after 9:00am and a few minutes after the attack a cat and mouse chase ensued between police and the robbers who were using a white Toyota Corolla vehicle while heading towards Limbe.

And on Saturday afternoon, unknown armed bandits, who are still at large, attacked an Indian businessman and went away with K3 million cash.

The same night a team of armed thugs broke into a number of homes in Machinjiri Township in Blantyre where they also took with them assorted electronic appliances and cash, among others, according to police.

Limbe Police Spokesperson Chifundo Chibwezo said the K3 million cash stolen on Saturday were sales of the day for OG Plastics Company.

“The incident occurred at Maselema along the Masauko Chipembere Highway around 15:40 hours.  The armed robbers broke into a vehicle which was being driven by Mr. Riaz and attacked him before fleeing with the money,” explained Chibwezo.

The police PRO said the gang, which was using a silver Toyota Carina vehicle number BQ 6844, also stole two cell phones- a Nokia and Access.

Mr. Riaz was transferring the cash from OG Plastics Limbe sales depot to their head office at Ginnery Corner when the incident occurred.

“We have launched investigations into the robbery. We are also appealing to all Malawians who may have information that will lead to the arrest of these criminals,” she said.

Over the last few weeks, Blantyre and its surrounding areas and Lilongwe have been experiencing a spate of armed robberies since Inspector of General of Police Loti Dzonzi publicly directed his officers not to harass any suspect.

Since the directive, some police officers have openly said they are demoralized with their boss’ assertion and fear for their lives because they may end up being shot at by the gangsters.

Last week, the People’s Party run government said it had drawn up vigorous measurers to counter the increasing wave of the armed robberies and other crimes in the country.

Government’s Leader in the National Assembly, Henry Phoya, said in Parliament the Minister of Home Affairs will issue a statement to outline the measures put in place.

But Phoya also warned that disciplinary action will be taken against police officers found deliberately ignoring crime in the name of avoiding to harass suspects.

“The Inspector General of Police is taking the necessary measures to re-instil the spirit of professionalism within the Malawi Police Service. We feel that any professional police officer will not honestly misinterpret the new guidelines in the police service to mean that police officers should indeed ignore crimes when they are being committed on the ground that they are complying with his new directive,” said Phoya.

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