Four police officers from Mangochi Police Station have been arrested for assault after they allegedly beat up two suspects in a case of mistaken identity two weeks ago.
The officers allegedly arrested and beat up two brothersâ€”identified as Maxwell and Humphrey Tayub by their father, William Tayub.
Mangochi Police spokesperson Rodrick Maida, however, insisted the police arrested Maxwell and Williamâ€”an alleged fugitive who bolted from their custody years back on a rape charge.
National Police spokesperson Dave Chingwalu on Monday confirmed the arrest of the four officers, but said the issue of mistaken identity remains the bone of contention with one of the suspects still behind bars after being denied bail.
Chingwalu said his colleagues, whose identities he concealed, were arrested last Tuesday and appeared before the Mangochi Magistrateâ€™s Court Thursday where they were charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and later released on bail.
He said the police officers refused to take plea and asked for legal representation before proceeding with the case.
Said Chingwalu: “The case has since been shifted to July 3. Initially, I was informed that Humphrey had been freed following the arrest of the police officers. Further investigations, however, showed that Mangochi Police insists he is their wanted man for the rape charge and his case continues on July 21 after the initial court appearance.
“This case is rather complicated, with police and family differing on the identity of the rape suspect. I understand he was also charged with obstructing police officers on duty.”
The boysâ€™ father said he only heard rumours about the officersâ€™ court appearance. Tayub claims his wanted son for the alleged rape, William, remains in South Africa where he has lived for the past three years.
The Tayubsâ€™ case attracted the attention of newly appointed Inspector General of Police Lot Dzonzi when it was first published by The Nation on June 4 2012, prompting him to institute an investigation into the matter.
Chingwalu said it was illegal to beat up suspects; hence, Dzonzi wants any officer involved to be prosecuted.
Maxwell and Humphrey were allegedly arrested as they returned from a drinking spree. Maxwell was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he allegedly bit off the ear of one of the officers as he prevented police getting at his brother. Maxwell was later released on bail.