Police in Lilongwe have arrested 18 people over alleged looting of property and injuring police officers on duty during the demonstrations organized by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) aimed at demanding Malawi Police Service (MPS) to name and prosecute its officers who allegedly raped women in and around Msundwe area in Lilongwe.
On Thursday, the protesters marched to Police headquarters at area 30 in Lilongwe where they handed over a petition to Deputy Inspector General of police responsible for administration, John Nyondo, who assured them that the law enforcers are working on the investigation and once done the public shall be informed and proper action will follow.
National Police Public Relations Officer, James Kadadzera, has confirmed the arrests of the suspects to the media.
The arrested suspects, who are aged between 13 and 32 years, were arrested after being caught pelting stones and injuring police officers and vandalizing shops and cars during the demonstrations.
Police officers who sustained various degrees of injuries as the demonstrators were passing on the M1 Road near Police Mobile Service C Division campus are Assistant Superintendent Ngonayasauka, Senior Inspectors Kamwaza, Gondwe and Longwe, Sergeants Mughogho and Aaron.
Properties damaged include personal and institutional cars, Shops belonging to Mapanga Furniture, Blockbuster, Chibwabwa Funeral Services and Mchesi Rising Star.
Some of the notable faces who joined the demonstrations include gender rights activists, Barbra Banda who is the chairperson for NGO – Gender Coordination Network (NGO GCN), and the former law maker, Jessie Kabwila.
In the petition, HRDC have given the police a five days ultimatum to arrest the suspected officers or else they will hold another protest if the police fail to honor their demand.
During 2019, the human rights defenders have also been conducting a series of demonstrations that led to loss of peoples’ lives, injuries and property damages.