Malawi’s Dowa teen girl accuses cop of sexual assault in police custody

A 14-year-girl in Dowa, who was remanded at Chesepo police unit over a fight at school, is accusing a police officer at the unit of raping her while she was in custody.
Health officials at Dowa District Hospital confirmed the rape, saying the girl has since been treated for possible sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
According to Zodiak radio, the girl said at night, whilst in the cell alone, a man who covered his face with a cloth, opened the cell with a key and raped her.
She said she was alone.
Group head Mphangala from chief Kayembe expressed shock at the revelation and has since asked all the police officers to be transferred.
He said it was illegal for the police to put in custody the minor on the trivia charges before consulting the traditional leaders.
“It is the community which built the police unit building and we did not build it for the police to be raping our children whilst in custody,” said the group head.
But deputy police publicist for Dowa Innocent Kasungu said the girl was raped by another suspect who was in another cell.
“We have arrested the other suspect, a man, who raped her and he is currently at Ntchisi prison awaiting his case,” said Kasungu.
He could however not say how a suspect had key to open another cell.
The mother of the girl has however expressed concern that the police summoned her to query her on why she had contacted civil rights groups to pursue the matter.
“They asked me, why did you do that, you don’t think we cannot handle that matter? I just moved out of the room without saying anything,” she said.
This was after the matter was reported to Girls Empowerment Movement after the villagers suspected the senior police officers were shielding the police officer who raped the girl.

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