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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Search continues for plane carrying Malawi VP Saulos Chilima and 9 others

Chilima was travelling from the capital Lilongwe to the city of Mzuzu for the funeral of a former cabinet minister.

The search for an aircraft carrying Malawi’s vice president Saulos Klaus Chilima and nine others is continuing after it went missing, Malawi’s presidency said on Monday.

Malawi’s Office of the President and Cabinet said the Malawi Defense Force aircraft left Lilongwe just after 9am failed to make its scheduled landing at Mzuzu International Airport.

Aircraft missing

“All efforts by aviation authorities to make contact with the Aircraft since it went off the radar have failed thus far.

“As such, the Commander of the Malawi Defense Force, General Valentino Phiri, has since informed His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of the incident and the President has since canceled his scheduled departure for the Bahamas and ordered all regional and national agencies to conduct an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the whereabouts of the aircraft,” the office said

Malawi’s former first lady Shanil Dzimbiri (Muluzi) was also on board.

The group was travelling from the capital Lilongwe over 370 kilometres to the city of Mzuzu for the funeral of a former cabinet minister.

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Chakwera has appealed to neighbouring countries and international partners, including the US, UK, Israel, and Norway, for assistance in locating the plane carrying the vice president, AFP reported.

In a televised address to the nation, Chakwera said he was “sparing no available resource to find that plane.

“I know that this is a heartbreaking situation… but I want to assure you that I am sparing no available resource to find that plane and I am holding on to every fibre of hope that we will find survivors.”

Chakwera said soldiers are “still on the ground carrying out the search.

“I have given strict orders that the operation should continue until the plane is found”, he said, adding that the army would give the public regular updates.

First elected vice-president in 2014, the charismatic yet stern-talking Chilima is widely loved in Malawi, particularly among the youth.

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