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Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others killed in plane crash

Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima and his/her wife, along with nine others, were killed when the plane they were travelling on crashed into the Chikungwa mountain range, CBS News reported, citing the government.

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday declared a national day of mourning. The announcement was made in a statement issued by the presidency and cabinet.

The statement said that unfortunately, all the people on board the plane have died in this accident. The accident happened on Monday morning when the military aircraft took off from Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

Saulos Chilima and others on board the plane were on their way to attend the funeral of Malawi’s former attorney general when their plane disappeared from radar, CBS News reports.

Air traffic officials said the plane was unable to land at Mzuzu airport, about 200 miles north of Lilongwe, because of poor visibility, and the pilot was advised to head for the capital when the plane went missing.

In a televised address on Monday night (local time), Chavera said the search and rescue operation would continue until Chilima’s plane was found. “I know this is a heartbreaking situation,” he/she said, adding, “and we are all scared and worried.”

CBS News reported that several countries, including the US, provided technical assistance to Malawi in the search operation. In a statement posted on X, the US Embassy in Lilongwe said it was “deeply concerned by the news of the crash” and offered “all available assistance, including Defense C-12 aircraft.”

Chilima (51) was seen as a potential contender for Malawi’s 2025 presidential election. Earlier in 2022, he/she was arrested on corruption charges amid reports that he/she received bribes from a businessman for government contracts. However, Chilima denied the allegations, the report said.

Earlier in May, the national prosecutor dropped charges against Saulos Chilima, and filed a notice to close the case.

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