Thugs posing as Malawi Police Service officers have robbed motorists about K5 million after mounting a roadblock at Number One Trading Centre in Thyolo District on Tuesday.
South East Police Region spokesperson Edward Kabango in an interview yesterday said the suspects were stopping vehicles using a structure initially used as a permanent police roadblock.
He said the suspects first robbed Thyolo Energem Filling Station manager Taslim Rabat about K3.2 million on Monday evening on her way to Blantyre before robbing another motorist about K1.6 million on Tuesday.
Kabango said: “When Mrs. Rabat was approaching the roadblock, the suspects pretended as if they wanted to open the roadblock and immediately grabbed her child from the car and demanded money while pointing a pistol at her.
“On Tuesday morning, they followed another motorist who is a businessperson, but at a different place and robbed him K1.6 million.”
He said when police and community members started chasing them, they dumped their vehicle at Mangunda Community Day Secondary School after the second robbery.
The robbery comes against the background of a growing tendency among police officers to use personal vehicles in executing their official duties, a situation that makes it difficult for motorists to differentiate between police officers and impersonators, especially at night.
In a separate interview, National Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya noted that there is no harm with police officers using personal cars while executing their duties because not all officers can use Malawi Police Service vehicles.
He said police officers are always identified by police uniforms and identity cards and that “the Thyolo incident was a pure robbery”.
Mzuzu University lecturer in governance, peace and security studies Aubrey Kabisala yesterday said it will be difficult to deal with such robberies as most to Malawians don’t keep police contacts within their vicinity for inquiries when they suspect some wrong doing.