Aircraft Carrying Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima Goes Missing

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An aircraft carrying Malawi’s vice president and nine others has gone missing.

According to the president’s office, Saulos Chilima was on board when the flight “went off radar” after leaving the capital, Lilongwe, on Monday morning.

Rescue operations are ongoing, it added after efforts to “make contact” with the plane failed.

“The public will be updated of any developments on the situation as facts are established,” Malawi‘s Office of the President and Cabinet said.

A Malawi Defence Force plane left the capital at 9.17 am (8.17 am UK time), secretary to the President Colleen Zamba said in a statement.

The aircraft had been scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport at 10.02 am, a trip covering a distance of about 370km.

Local media reports Mr Chilima, 51, had been on his way to the funeral of Ralph Kasambara, a lawyer and former minister.

Saulos Chilima pictured on Sunday returning from South Korea. Pic: AP
Image: Saulos Chilima pictured on Sunday returning from South Korea. Pic: AP

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has cancelled a trip to the Bahamas and ordered authorities to “conduct an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the whereabouts of the aircraft”.

Mr Chilima had been arrested in 2022 after Malawi’s corruption watchdog alleged he was rewarded for helping two companies get government contracts.

He denied any wrongdoing and last month the charges were dropped, with no reason given.

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