Malawi Police arrest 44 in women undressing saga

Malawi Police crackdown on suspects who went berserk last week stripping off women in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre cities has seen 44 youths languishing in cells.

The development follows more arrests in Lilongwe and Mzuzu of 19 and five more suspects respectively in connection to the last week’s barbaric actions.

Last week Tuesday, Malawian residents were shocked with some youths, masquerading as street vendors, who went on a rampage undressing women and girls found wearing pairs of trousers, short skirts and leggings.

Women protest stripping

The incident started at Chinsapo in Lilongwe before some unruly youths in Mzuzu and Blantyre joined the appalling campaign.

Arrests

National Police Spokesperson Davie Chingwalu said the arrested suspects will answer charges theft and insulting the modesty of women.

He said, according to investigations, the women stripping gang snatched handbags from women which had mobile phones, cash and other valuable items in them.

Chingwalu also revealed that police have also indentified the first woman victim of the persecution who has since recounted her tribulation to police.

“From the information we recorded from her, it indeed confirmed that the whole incident started in Chinsapo and we have managed to trace and apprehend 12 suspects in Chinsapo and Chigwirizano believed to have instigated the whole anarchy,” Chingwalu said.

Four other people were arrested in different parts of the city while one suspected stripper was nabbed in Blantyre.

No court

In Mzuzu, Police Spokesperson Edward Longwe said three more suspects were arrested on Saturday at Matabwa market bringing the number to five.

Chingwalu said all the suspects are in police custody and it remains unclear when they will appear before the court due to the ongoing strike by the judiciary which is now in its third week.

A few days after the incident, President Bingu wa Mutharika came out to condemn the attacks in a state of the nation address and ordered police to crackdown on the suspects.

Thousands of women, who included State Vice President Joyce Banda and joined by some men, also staged a peaceful protest at HHI Multipurpose Hall in Blantyre on Friday where they called upon authorities to thoroughly probe the incidents and ensure that all culprits are brought to justice.

Meanwhile, vendors in Mzuzu and Lilongwe have insisted that the perpetrators were not in any way vendors and have since apologised to the nation in the spirit of peace and oneness.

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