Malawi Vice-President Saulos Chilima Missing After Plane Disappears

An aircraft carrying Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others has gone missing, according to a statement from the president’s office.

The Malawi Defence Force aircraft “went off the radar” shortly after departing from the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning, the BBC reports.

The plane was scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport in northern Malawi just after 10:00 local time (09:00 BST). In a speech late on Monday, President Lazarus Chakwera announced that search and rescue operations were ongoing.

“Soldiers are still on the ground carrying out the search, and I have given strict orders for the operation to continue until the plane is found,” he said.

A plane carrying Malawi's Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others has gone missing. Credit: supplied.
A plane carrying Malawi’s Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others has gone missing. Credit: supplied.

Due to the incident, President Chakwera cancelled his scheduled flight to the Bahamas on Monday evening. General Valentino Phiri informed President Chakwera that the reason for the aircraft’s disappearance remains unknown.

Malawi’s Information Minister, Moses Kunkuyu, told the BBC that efforts to locate the aircraft are “intensive.”

Vice-President Chilima was enroute to represent the government at the funeral of former cabinet minister Ralph Kasambara, who passed away three days prior.

Mr. Kunkuyu explained, “The airport he was supposed to land at, in the northern part of Mzuzu, was the closest to where the funeral was taking place.”

In 2022, Dr. Chilima faced arrest and charges for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for awarding government contracts. However, last month, the court dropped the charges without providing any reasons for the decision.

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A plane carrying Malawi's Vice-President Saulos Chilima and nine others has gone missing. Credit: supplied.

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