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The plane carrying the Vice President of Malawi has disappeared, and the search is still ongoing

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Blantyre, Malawi – President Lazarus Chakwera said soldiers were searching hills and forests near a city in northern Malawi after a military plane carrying the country’s vice president disappeared in the area on Monday.

The plane carrying Vice President Saulos Chilima, 51, and nine others left the southern African nation’s capital, Lilongwe, at 9.17am and was expected to land 45 minutes later at Mzuzu International Airport, about 370 kilometers (230 miles) to the north. . Chakwera said in a speech broadcast on the official MBC television channel that air traffic control asked her to return due to bad weather conditions and poor visibility. He added that the plane disappeared from radar screens a short time later.

“I know this is a heartbreaking situation. I know we are all scared and concerned. I am also concerned,” Chakwera said. “But I want to assure you that I am not sparing any available resources to find that plane. “I hold on to every shred of hope that we will find survivors.”

Mzuzu is the third largest city in Malawi and the capital of the Northern Region. It is located in a mountainous forest area dominated by the Vivia mountain range, which includes extensive plantations of pine trees.

The president pledged that searches would continue throughout the night.

“I have given strict orders that the operation must continue until the plane is found,” Chakwera said.

Chakwera said the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway and Israel have offered to assist in the search.

Chilima has been Vice President since 2020.

He was a candidate in the 2019 Malawi presidential election and came in third place. This vote was won by current President Peter Mutharika, but the Constitutional Court in Malawi invalidated it due to irregularities. Chakwera finished second in that election.

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Chilima then joined Chakwera’s campaign as his running mate Historic re-election In 2020, when Chakwera was elected president. This was the first time in Africa that the result of an election annulled by a court led to the defeat of the incumbent president.

The vice president was facing corruption charges over allegations he received money in exchange for influencing the awarding of government contracts, but prosecutors dropped the charges last month. This led to criticism that Chakwera’s administration had not taken a tough enough stance against graft.

Chilima was arrested in late 2022 and has appeared in court several times, but the trial has not yet begun. He has denied all charges.

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Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa.

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IP Africa News: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

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