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Malawi’s Vice President Killed in Plane Crash

President Lazarus Chakwera announced the discovery of the wreckage of a plane carrying Malawi’s Vice President, Saulos Chilima, with no survivors.

On Monday morning, Chilima and nine others were on a domestic flight when their military aircraft vanished from airport radars amid adverse weather conditions. Soldiers had been combing Chikangawa Forest to locate the aircraft.

In a Tuesday news briefing, President Chakwera revealed that the Malawi Defence Force commander had informed him the search and rescue mission had concluded with the plane’s discovery. Chakwera expressed deep sorrow over the tragic incident, stating the rescue team found the aircraft completely destroyed.

Chilima, aged 51, was traveling to represent the government at the funeral of former minister Ralph Kasambara, who had passed away four days earlier. The flight, which departed from the capital Lilongwe, was scheduled to land in Mzuzu but had to turn back due to poor visibility.

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Chilima, who had served as vice president since 2014, was popular, especially among the youth, according to AFP news agency. He and President Chakwera, from different political parties, had formed an alliance during the 2020 elections.

In 2022, Chilima faced arrest and charges of accepting bribes in exchange for government contracts. However, the court dropped these charges last month without explanation. Chilima is survived by his wife and two children.

Former First Lady Shanil Dzimbiri was also among those on the ill-fated flight.

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