Resource-constrained Chipoka Police Unit in Salima District is fighting an uphill battle to break a crime wave, including the killing of a police officer and two other women.
Chipoka Police Unit’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer Rhoda Ng’oma was murdered in her house in July this year. Since then, there have been three other cases of gruesome murders, the latest two victims being Loveness Chihana, 84, of Saidi Village and Nelia Finiyasi, 16, of Mwenyekazi Village both in Traditional Authority (T/A) Ndindi’s area.
Both Chihana and Finiasi were discovered dead last Wednesday morning. Their villages are few kilometres away from Chipoka Trading Centre.
Salima Police Station public relations officer (PRO) Gift Chitowe and district commissioner (DC) Rodney Simwaka confirmed to The Nation, in separate interviews on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, that limited resources at the police unit are frustrating progress in investigations towards the arrest of suspected murderers.
Among others, Chitowe and Simwaka said the law enforcers are failing to carry out routine night patrols and investigations because they do not have the needed equipment, including a vehicle.
Chitowe said mobility is the police’s biggest challenge as the vehicle assigned to Chipoka Police Unit broke down some months ago.
He suspected that criminals could be taking advantage of the absence of night patrols in the area as the police do not have means of mobility.
Said Chitowe: “The rising cases of criminal activities and gruesome murders in Chipoka are a matter of big concern to us, as law enforcers. We are very challenged when it comes to conducting patrols because the unit does not have a vehicle at the moment.”
He said Salima Police Station requires K750 000 to procure spare parts to put the Chipoka Police Unit vehicle back on the road.
Chitowe said the station did not have the said money and the vehicle was taken to National Police Headquarters in Lilongwe where it is yet to be repaired.
The development recently forced Simwaka to release one of the Salima District Council vehicles to the police. Unfortunately, this vehicle too broke down and is yet to be repaired.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera asked for more time to consult his superiors before responding to our questions on the transport situation at Chipoka Police Unit. n