Malawi vice president Chilima killed in plane crash

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Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine other people were killed when the military plane they were traveling on crashed, President Lazarus Chakwera said on Tuesday.

The aircraft carrying Chilima, who was seen as a potential candidate in next year’s presidential election, went missing on Monday.

“I’m deeply saddened, I’m sorry to inform you all that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy. The search and rescue team has found the aircraft near a hill. They have found it completely destroyed with no survivors,” Chakwera said in an address to the nation.

The plane left the capital Lilongwe at 09:17 a.m. (0717 GMT) on Monday but was unable to land at Mzuzu airport as scheduled at 10:02 a.m. due to poor visibility.

It was ordered to return to Lilongwe but went off the radar and aviation authorities could not make contact with it.

Chakwera said all passengers on board were killed on impact and that the military was bringing their remains back to the capital.

“Despite the track record of the aircraft and the experience of the crew, something terrible went wrong with that aircraft on its flight back to Lilongwe, sending it crashing down and leaving us all devastated,” he said.

Chilima, 51, was arrested in 2022 over graft allegations. However, a court dropped the charges against him last month after the director of public prosecutions filed a notice for the case to be discontinued. Chilima denied wrongdoing.

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