The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has demanded the Malawi Police to arrest the officer who shot Polytechnic student Blessings Nyondo, saying the grouping will hold vigils at Southern Region Police if the officer is not arrested in five days.
Nyondo was shot on New Year’s Eve and he died in hospital last week.
His family said he was shot by a police officer while on his way to a crossover service but police claimed that Nyondo was shot by a Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) security officer who was in an MBC vehicle together with a police officer.
According to police, Nyondo was a robbery suspect and he also tried to snatch a gun from the police officer before being shot.
But HRDC has decribed the Malawi Police’s claims as unbelievable, outright insensitive and incoherent.
HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence said in a statement that the coalition has information that Nyondo was a victim of the alleged robbery and was just seeking refuge in the MBC vehicle.
“The official Malawi Police Service statement on circumstances surrounding the unwarranted and reckless shooting of Blessings does not only contradict numerous testimonies from people who know Blessings but also how the Malawi Police Service eventually handled Blessings after the shooting,” the HRDC said, adding that the police never arrested Nyondo or guarded him in hospital even though they claimed that he was a suspect.
The grouping then noted that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi provides for the right to life in section 16(1) and that such life shall not be arbitrarily deprived hence all forms of arbitrary deprivation of life by any person, including law enforcement agents, are unacceptable in Malawi.
“We will not sit back and watch the MPS militate against its very own mandate which is to protect lives and property,’’ HRDC said.
The rights group has since demanded the police to immediately arrest, dully charge, and fiercely prosecute Nyondo’s and his accomplices.
The right group has threatened to vigils at the Southern Region Police Headquarters if no arrest is made in five days.