Five police officers guarding Malawi President private house at Ndata Farm in Thyolo have been arrested for allegedly abandoning their duty station and mounting an unauthorised roadblock at Goliati Trading Centre on Monday night.
The five officers, from the Malawi Police Mobile Service, were also allegedly confiscating money and cellphone handsets from some passers-by.
Southern Region Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa confirmed the arrest of the five on allegations of robbery with violence.
“I can confirm that it is true we have locked up five police officers at Limbe Police Station,” said Gondwa. “They are our suspects on a charge of robbery with violence.”
Southern Region Police headquarters has described the development “as worrisome” because the officers that are assigned to the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ndata Farm residence are expected to protect the life and property of the President.
Said Gondwa: “The police entrusted them to do that job. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unfortunate they abandoned their duty to erect an unlawful roadblock. In their absence, anything can happen.”
On particulars of the alleged offence, Gondwa said five people from the area complained that the suspects had robbed them of their money and cellphones.
Gondwa claimed when the villagers became suspicious of the motive behind the roadblock, they mobilised themselves and confronted the suspects and managed to apprehend one.
“It is alleged that on Monday night, the five erected an unlawful roadblock at Goliati Trading Centre where at least five people had their money and cellphones confiscated,” he said. According to Gondwa, the suspects collected K12 700 (about $76) and two handsets.
Said Gondwa: “This is just an allegation. So, it will not be proper for me to mention their names. But one thing I should make very clear is that they were doing this as individuals and not as police officers and we are treating them like any other suspects.”
He said when the villagers arrested one officer, they handed him over to Goliati Police Unit which immediately alerted Limbe Police Station and the rest were picked later.
This came barely two days after two officers from Kachere Police Unit in Limbe were arrested after six suspects escaped from custody and stole a rifle and rounds of live ammunition.
Meanwhile, a police officer at Nkula Police Unit on Monday shot dead a man who was causing havoc at Nseula Village Market, an incident Gondwa said was at the moment being treated as accidental shooting as investigations are underway.
The PRO said the deceased was setting ablaze market stalls and assaulting women and when the lone police officer arrived on the scene after being called by people. The deceased reportedly charged at the officer who is said to have opened fire after several warnings.
Police officers are assigned, on rotational basis, to guard President Bingu wa MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s private residence at Ndata Farm in Thyolo.
The suspects reportedly mounted an unlawful roadblock where they confiscated money from passers-by. Some residents also allegedly lost their cellphones.