Malawi police accused of rape and sexual assault

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Malawian police officers raped and sexually assaulted women, some of them in the presence of their children, during a security operation in October, an official state commission responsible for investigating human rights violations has said.

In a damning report published on Wednesday, the influential Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) said its investigations revealed that at least one girl below the age of 18 was sexually assaulted, while seven women were raped.

The incident happened in Msundwe, 35km (22 miles) west of the capital, Lilongwe.

“Some of the survivors were raped right in the presence of their children some of whom are able to recount the incident,” the report says.

According to the report, the assaults happened as the police were trying to clear unauthorised checkpoints mounted by villagers. Police fired teargas forcing most people especially men and the youth to flee.

The checkpoints were erected by villagers to try and prevent people from attending a rally being held by President Peter Mutharika in Lilongwe.

“Some of the women who were left behind in the village as others fled, or arrived in the villages after the others had fled, were met with police officers who violently beat them, raped and indecently assaulted them,” the report says.

The MHRC recommends that criminal investigations be instituted and has named several officers who it says should be sanctioned.

There has been no immediate comment from the police. A spokesman told me they are studying the report and will give their full response in due course.

Source: bbc.com

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