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Vice President Saulos Chilima of Malawi and nine others have been confirmed dead in a plane crash. President Lazarus Chakwera confirmed the death of the 10 on Tuesday, June 11, a day after the military aircraft that left Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, en route to the Mzuzu airport went off the radar.

“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.

“Despite the experience of the crew, something terrible happened to that aircraft, sending it crashing down and killing everyone on board,” he added. The president paid tribute to Chilima, saying: “He was a good man, a patriotic citizen. It was an honor to have him as my deputy [for] the past four years.”

“I understand this feeling because I feel them too. It is important that we comfort each other now and [in] the weeks to come as we mourn together,” the president said. Chilima, 51, was on his way to represent the government at the burial of former government minister Ralph Kasambara, who died four days ago.

The military aircraft carrying Chilima and the nine others failed to make a landing Monday morning, according to a statement from the secretary to the president and cabinet, Colleen Zamba. Earlier, the secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Father Valeriano Mtseka, described the late vice president as a “devout Catholic.”

Following the tragedy, Malawians on social media have been offering condolences for the vice president and the other nine.

“We have lost our beloved vice president of Malawi. May he rest in peace. He loved the Church. Very active and humble,” Father Edmond Nyoka said in a post on X. Born in February 1973, Chilima is a Ngoni from the Ntcheu District in Central Malawi. He is married to Mary and together they have two children. Chilima is a Roman Catholic who held leadership positions in the Church.

By ACI Africa

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