The Malawi Police have finally arrested one of their own after intense pressure and days of intimidation and bully to force a 14-year-old girl in Dowa drop allegations that she was sexually assaulted whilst in custody at Chesepo Police Unit in Dowa District .
Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) officials have confirmed that they have evidence that a police officer, only identified as Sergeant Kayembe is in police custody over the rape which has shocked the nation.
The minor is reported to have been arrested for allegedly using abusive language after being involved in a scuffle at schoolbut was put in custody overnight when the police officer allegedly opened her cell after partially covering his face and sexually abused her.
The police initially said the girl was defiled by another suspect who was in an adjacent cell but the girl said the person who defiled her had keys to her cell, opened the door and duly closed it before the sexual assualt took place.
Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said he did not have information on the arrest of his colleague.
Village headman Khanyo of chief Kayembe’s area in Dowa where the girl comes from said a team of police officers came to the village to meet traditional leaders and offer their apologies for the incident.
Khanyo said the village heads flatly refused the apologies.
Several human rights organisations, including the Malawi Law Society , Women Lawyers Association of Malawi (WLA), YouthNet and Counselling (Yoneco), Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) and Eye of the Child, among others, have taken up the issue to represent the girl after the police decision to bully her and her mother withdraw her claim that she was raped by Kayembe.
Central Region Police Commissioner Innocent Bottomani admitted that his officers erred in arresting the minor and putting her in a cooler where the unfortunate incident happened.
Bottomani said the police initially established that a suspect, who was in the opposite cell, managed to break his door and violated the girl.
“Attempts to re-arrest him were not successful, but he was later captured in Ntchisi where he is being held,” he said.
But organisations said the claim that the girl was defiled by another suspect did not hold.
Sexula assualt case in police custody is not new as there have been similar cases in recent months where police officers have been nabbed on allegations of defiling girls.
In March this year, a police officer at Chimwamkango Police Unit in Mchinji was arrested on suspicion that he defiled a 14-year-old girl, and in September, another police constable at Chilomoni Police Station in Blantyre was arrested for defiling a 15-year-old girl while on duty during the fifth phase of the voter registration exercise.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :