Malawi Police Service has launched a manhunt for one of its officers at Ipyana in Karonga for allegedly hiring out official police guns to thugs
The officer, identified as B6109 Sergeant Raphael Silvester, on Friday got the gun, a K2C rifle, as part of his duty at Ipyana, but hired it out to alleged thugs who went to rob a filling station.
Inspector General (IG)of Police George Kainja said he was aware of the incident, and that the police are currently investigating the matter so that Silvester—a Police Mobile Service (PMS) officer—is arrested and face the law.
He said: “This officer was among the three people and he is one who ran away. We would want to have a police [service] that is disciplined. It’s a case that I am aware of and as soon as we arrest him, the nation will be informed.”
In a confidential report to the IG compiled by Karonga Police Station Inspector Winnie Mbewe identified the two suspects arrested and found in possession of the gun as Patrick Gondwe, 32, of Gwebe Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu in Karonga and Donald Simbeye, 27, of Lidiwe Village, T/A Mwaulambia in Chitipa.
The report said Mbewe and other officers were on night patrol duties within Karonga township when they received information that three unknown people were seen moving around
in a suspicious way while carrying a bag and that they insisted to hire one motorcycle.
Reads the report: “… Illegal possession of firearm (K2C, 16IPN) occurred during the night of 26-27/11/2020 within Karonga Township.
“Facts are that the reporter and party were on night patrol duties within Karonga Township.
In course of their duties, they received information that three unknown people were seen moving around in a suspicious way while carrying a bag and that they insisted to hire one motorcycle.”
Acting on the information, the team rushed to the scene and managed to arrest two of the three suspects while one managed to run away.
It adds: “The bag was searched and the above type of rifle was found without a magazine. Follow up was made and it was discovered that the recovered rifle was from Ipyana PMS Camp and was issued to no B6109 SGT Raphael Silvester of the said Police formation who was assigned for quarter guard duties from 17:00hrs to 06:00hrs.
“ Mean w hile investigations are in progress to arrest the other suspect and recover the magazine.”
Mzuzu University security studies expert Euginio Njoloma said the Karonga incident was disturbing and constituted a good reason to erode the trust people have in security agencies.
He said: “Once the weapon unconventionally leaves the hands of a police officer, it becomes a very dangerous weapon. This is what is quite disturbing.
“Our police officers need to be not just trustworthy, but, importantly they have to hold a strong sense of patriotism by deeply understanding the imperatives of State security.”
Karonga is a border town neighbouring with Tanzania and has in recent past witnessed a spate of armed robberies, including the murder of two Chinese on November 9 2020.