22 Malawi army recruits die in accident
LILONGWE – At least 22 newly trained Malawi Defence Force soldiers died in a road accident in Mzimba in the northern part of Malawi.
President Peter Mutharika has since expressed shock at the fatal accident that has shattered the country.
The accident occurred on Thursday morning at Mapanjira in the district when the soldiers were travelling to Nkhotakota following the conclusion of their training.
Reports show that there were 35 soldiers, including instructors in the Tata vehicle when it overturned several times after the driver failed to negotiate a corner.
MDF spokesperson Major Paul Chiphwanya confirmed the accident and the death toll in an interview with Malawi’s broadcaster, Zodiak, that the figure as on Friday was at 22.
According to Chimphwanya, the newly recruited MDF soldiers met their fate as they were coming from a training exercise in Luwawa Forest.
Several soldiers also sustained injuries during the accident and were taken to Mzimba District Hospital for treatment.
Bodies of the 16 dead soldiers were also taken to the same hospital. Others died on arrival at the hospital.
Mutharika and the First Lady Dr Gertrude Mutharika stated in an official statement signed by Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara that they had learnt with great shock the death of 22 Malawi Defence Force cadets and soldiers in a road accident.
“Their Excellencies join all Malawians in expressing their condolences to the bereaved families and also wishing those injured speedy recovery.
“The President is assuring the bereaved and affected families that government will do everything within its means to support them during this difficult time. May our Lord bless and bring comfort to the bereaved and ease the pain of loss. ” reads the statement.