- Robbers steal computers, accessories
Traces of security breakdown in the country continued on Saturday night when robbers broke into offices of the taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) in Lilongwe where they stole two desktop computers.
The break-in at MHRC, which investigates human rights abuses and grievances and build up cases, comes against a background of robberies in houses of high-profile public officers, including Vice-President Saulos Chilima and Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Atupele Muluzi when he was serving as Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.
Both Malawi Police Service and a private security firm in Lilongwe yesterday confirmed the robbery, saying they have launched investigations into the incident, which was reportedly discovered around 2am on Sunday.
The robbers stole two sets of desktop computers, a printer, a computer processing unit (CPU) and two sets of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units.
“As part of our investigations, we have detained the security guard who was on duty last night [Saturday]. We need him for further questioning,” said Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula.
A security guard who was manning the crime scene at HB House in Old Town indicated that all was well until around 2am when he discovered the break-in, after which he alerted his superiors.
The robbers broke off thick external burglar bars and heavy-duty glass to create a square passage through which they gained entry into the office that houses two MHRC officers registering and handling complaints from clients.
“As far as our daily operations are concerned, it is really bad, in our case. This is because the office that has been broken into is our complaints handling section and this will take us backwards because our work has really been affected,” MHRC disability rights director Wycliffe Masoo said yesterday.
He added that the amount of property lost may increase when the office completes checking and verifying what else the robbers had laid their hands on. Drawers of both desks in the targetted office were open, indicating they had been searched.
Masoo lamented the fact that this is the fifth time the MHRC office has been broken into over the past few years. In the other break-ins, desktop computers for three investigators of human rights violations and three other such machines were stolen.
“It greatly concerns us that even during daytime, some thieves have sneaked into our offices and stolen some laptops. Our recent tightening of internal office security has foiled several other theft attempts; it now seems clear that we must tighten the security measures even more,” he added.
People who have human rights grievances turn to the MHRC whose investigators and lawyers build up cases which have seen alleged human rights violators facing the law.