Public substantially praise Soche Police officers for foiling a planned armed robbery at Chichiri 

As cases of armed robbery keep rising and petrifying the public, the news that detectives from Soche Police in Blantyre have foiled an attempted operation was received with a huge sigh of relief — giving hope that law enforcement officers are on the high alert.

This was after Zodiak Online posted on its Facebook page that Soche Police officers got a tip of a planned heist on an armoured cash van and the suspects were followed and ended in a gun fight at Chichiri Shopping Mall.

The incident, captured on still cameras pictures and videos by onlookers who were in Keza Building, took place at the junction towards Blantyre City Council and the suspects were driving a black Honda Freed with fake registration plates — according Blantyre Police deputy publicist, Sgt. Aubrey Singanyama.

The wounded suspects were quickly taken to hospital for treatment

Singanyama told Zodiak Online that the police officers managed to shoot and apprehend the six suspects. The officers are seen in civilian clothes after their successful operation as they dragged out the suspects from the vehicle.

The public thus warmly congratulated the police that after just after two hours since Zodiak Online posted the news, there were over 2,100 comments and over 3,200 likes — most which emphasized that the brave officers deserve awards and promotions.

Blessings Kendrick Banda said: “Much respect to our beloved Police for saving lives of many today when armed robbers opened fire at Chichiri Shopping Mall. I was there and witnessed the movie-like action. Great skills — we have skilled police guys, trust me on that.”

Kendrick Banda, however, advised the public from rushing towards sounds of gunshots, saying: “Malawians, let’s learn to take cover. We don’t go where gunshots are heard just to take pictures”, to which Rajab Al Wahab and Chisomo Mwanja agreed.

The scene at the junction to Blantyre City Council

“We thank God no civilian was harmed,” Mwanja said. “Bravo men in uniform changu chanu chapulumutsa makobili (your prompt response has saved money from being stolen.)”

Alexius Kalim’mawa was relieved that “security is getting tight [but] what remains is the justice system to get tight too so that people shouldn’t dare to commit crimes” while John Chadwala hinted that criminals in Malawi’s are copying and bringing South African style of ambushing cash in transit heist.

While there was need for having such brave Malawians “who can risk their lives toward the betterment of others”, Wongani Mhango also advised that there is need to investigate the source of the guns — with Charles Yafwamu joining in to say: “We need a ballistic expert to examine the weapons [confiscated at Chichiri shootout]. Maybe they can be linked to various criminal activities — the killing in Mzuzu is in my mind.”

Geoffrey Chipeta joined the debate, saying: “As we recommend the men in uniform, we would like also to ask government to put more effort to these criminal activities which now have become the older of the day”.

“If nothing is checked, I am afraid to say Malawi will become like RSA”, while Fred Nyirongo wished if the police could clear off anamasikini (young street beggars) that are the source nursery for a lot of these criminal acts in Blantyre.

In recent times, the public have observed that young street-begging kids become extremely crime conscious as they grow up and in turn grow up to become hardcore criminals, who control the young ones coming after them.

Despite the police being very much aware of the terror being perpetrated by these street kid beggars in the cities, the urchins are continuing with their menace and are even daring to attack victims in daylight.

The daylight terror is even carried out not when there is a lull of pedestrian traffic but in full view of people, who watch from a distance as they fear of the terrible weapons they carry that include knives and sharped bicycle spokes.

Their targets are Chichiri Shopping Mall, Bank ATMs on deserted streets especially from 6pm and sometimes hotel car parks to pounce on unsuspecting motorists as soon as they open their car doors.

Many other testimony stories have been shared through social media, with victims or their relations warning the public to be wary and alert of certain hotspots around Blantyre City.

From the many testimony reports, the whole of Blantyre City central business district (CBD) is a must-leave area after 17:30hrs especially in less patronized pedestrian-traffic streets and after 19:00hrs in other busy areas where minibuses wait on passengers.

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