Armed robberies and attacks along Lake Malawi tourist areas have raised fears for a country with no history of terrorism and some people have criticized government’s failure to mitigate the problem.
Concerned citizens are worried about the safety of tourists and they believe the authorities are being complacent, taking too much comfort in the country’s historical standing as a non-aligned, multicultural nation which is free from attacks.
Many local and other foreign people find themselves worried about the possibility of an attack along Lake Malawi and have demanded provision of security.
The Malawi government has been blamed for its failure to address the matter.
So far no tangible solution has been provided to mitigate the lax in security around the resorts and hotels of Lake Malawi, especially those in Mangochi.
When contacted, Minister of Information Jappie Mhango downplayed the reports saying he is not aware of the attacks.
Commenting on the failure by government to mitigate the problem, Mhango maintained that his office has not received any reports of robberies that have happened along Lake Malawi.
“The question is very specific to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security. I may not be competent to answer that. Home affairs Minister should be able to deal with that. Matters of security at resorts are reported to police. They are the ones who come up with the means to deal with the situation,” said Mhango.
Over the course of this year, lakeshore tourists have become targets and some have been attacked in their rooms.
Places that have been hit by robbers twice in two months include Nkudzi lodge, Skinny Hippos, Twin Towers, and Palm Beach.
The incidents have sparked serious debate on the effectiveness of the government in providing security.
With the frequent attacks in resorts and hotels, there is a probability that government will lose some foreign currency gained through tourism.
In his remarks, National Police Publicist Nicholas Gondwa said efforts are being made to stop the attacks.
He said it is shameful the way tourists are being humiliated in the country.
“We know that there are security problems along the lakeshore of Malawi and tourists are being harassed by criminals. Police and PMF personnel’s have been sent to patrol these areas.
Mangochi police station is well equipped led by the police in charge. In no time we will bring down these criminals,” said Gondwa.
Gondwa further said the police have so far managed to find some of the equipment robbers use in the attacks.
He said: “of late nobody has been arrested but we managed to recover some abandoned items near Shire River in Mangochi. These were four panga knives and a hammer we believe they have been using to break doors.”
Tourist arrivals may reduce if the spate of attacks continues.
In 2014, Lonely Planet named Malawi among the top 10 places to go to in Africa.