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21 soldiers in court over DRC tragedy

By Madalitso Musa:

Twenty-one Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers, who were withdrawn from a peace-keeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in November 2018, are facing trial in a court martial for different charges relating to their conduct during the exercise.

The 21 were recalled after six MDF soldiers were killed in that country. The soldiers died after an exchange of fire with rebels in the DRC while two others are still missing.

Registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, Agnes Patemba, confirmed the developments, saying the matter would be heard at MDF today.

“They have their own martial court. It’s not our court which will try this case,” she said.

Justice Chifundo Kachale will be judge advocate.

“The judge will not preside over the case but he is judge advocate to guide the presiding officer on procedural and legal issues,” Patemba said.

MDF spokesperson, Paul Chiphwanya, also confirmed the development but refused to state the charges.

“The court martial will be at Kamuzu Barracks but we cannot reveal the charges because of the nature of the case. It is an issue of security,” he said.

The soldiers were in a joint operation with other forces and DRC troops against the Allied Democratic Forces, an extremist group blamed for bloody attacks on civilians.

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