While Minister of Homeland Security, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma maintains that the recent brutal killings in Lilongwe City is not a threat to national security as alluded to by the coalition of human rights organizations, the United Nations alerts it security management system (UNSMS) staff members of “potential increases in the threat of opportunistic crime and residential robberies and adopt a heightened personal security posture”.
A statement issued on Monday, same day Minister Zikhale Ng’oma told the nation the spate of the brutal killings cannot determine the status of the country’s security system.
He also appealed to Malawians to assist security agencies in tracking down those connected to the murder cases while at the same time instructed the Inspector General of Police to trace people who are saying the brutal killings are a threat to national security.
Meanwhile, Agnes Katengeza, who was discovered dead and found with stab wounds in her own vehicle on Sunday, was laid to rest on Tuesday in Lilongwe and amongst those present at the ceremony were US Ambassador, Governor of Reserve Bank of Malaŵi, Wilson Banda and Parliamentarian Alfred Jiya.
The statement from the UN emphasises that while there are no indications that UNSMS personnel and their dependents are specifically targeted, it is important for the staff “to be aware of potential increases in the threat of opportunistic crime and residential robberies and adopt a heightened personal security posture”.
Thus the staff have been recommended some precautionary measures, that include being vigilant and security-conscious always; avoiding parking their vehicle at unsecure parking areas; to always remember to drive with doors locked and windows raised fully up.
Also not to offer lifts to unknown individuals; always locking their residential doors and windows; ensuring their residential windows and main doors have iron grills installed and to ensure their compound is well-lit at night.
They are further advised to lit up areas within their compounds that are not well lit that may provide cover for thieves under the cover of darkness and to ensure they cut back overgrown vegetation that may shield a burglar from view.
They have also being asked not carry large sums of money on whilst moving in town and to ensure their wallet is not bulging out of their pockets as this may attract unwanted attention.
“As much as possible avoid walking alone at night. Most incidents occur at night and the victims are often alone at the time of the incident.
“Do not display items (phones, laptop- bags, handbags, etc.) in parked vehicles — preferably have the items on your person. If a vehicle is in motion, put the items on the floor, under the seat, or in the boot of the vehicle.
“Should you become a robbery victim, remember that non-resistance and a cooperative attitude will most probably save your life. Remember that everyone is responsible for his or her safety!”
The UN takes note that acts of criminality such as murder, violent armed robbery, street crimes, house burglary, and vehicle break-ins are on the upsurge in Lilongwe and in all other major towns and cities across the country.
This follows three gruesome murder incidents within a space of 5 days, most highly profound was on Wednesday September 20 at around when a 37-year-old sales manager for Coca-Cola Beverages in Lilongwe, Allan Wittika was found dead in his car in Area 15.
The victim had deep cuts in his head and police suspected that he could have been murdered elsewhere and shifted to the location where his car was found.
Then on September 24 unidentified assailants assaulted an employee of Central Poultry Company Ltd, robbed him of the cash and was badly assaulted and is in critical condition at Kamuzu Central Hospital.
On Monday September 25, a motorbike taxi operator was assaulted and robbed of his bike and cash by unknown criminals at Chinsapo Township, leaving the victim unconscious by the roadside.
Then followed the disappearance of Katengeza who was to be discovered dead and found with stab wounds in her own vehicle while on Wednesday September 20, 27-year-old Jacob Msokera was found submerged in a well at Mponela in Dowa.