The Government has expressed shock over reports that police officers raped women and teenage girls at Msundwe and two other trading centres in Lilongwe.

In a statement released yesterday, the government through the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare said the reports are horrifying.

“The Ministry is deeply concerned by these serious allegations that border on disregard for women’s rights an exploitation of their vulnerability,” the gender ministry said in the statement.

It added that it is working with other key institutions to ensure that the allegations are investigated to their logical conclusions.

The statement, however, did not mention the institutions the ministry is working with but on Wednesday afternoon the police said they had instituted an inquiry to identify the suspects.

According to the NGO Gender Coordination Network, the rape and torture of women and girls at Msundwe, M’bwatalika and Mpingu trading centres was perpetrated by police officers deployed to the areas earlier this month.

The officers’ mission was to arrest people who blocked the Mchinji-Lilongwe road on 8 October, an incident which led to the death of a police officer.

During the operation, police officers raped and sexually abused women and self-boarding girl students. They also tortured people and looted shops.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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