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Missing soldier found in DRC

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

One of the four Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who went missing in a United Nations (UN) peace-keeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been found.

MDF spokesperson, Paul Chiphwanya, Sunday identified the soldier as Corporal George Salimu.

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He was among the three soldiers—Staff Sergeant Chancy Mwakawenga, Sergeant Boniface Noah and Lance Corporal Gift Nkhoma—who were reported missing in an operation aimed at clearing illegal armed groups.

Confirmed reports indicate that, so far, 18 soldiers from Malawi are victims of the operation.

Six Malawian soldiers—Lieutenant Aubrey Kachemwe, Corporal Jonathan Kapichira, Sergeant Steven Kambalame, Private Chauncy Chitete, Private Benjamin Songela and Private Simplex Taferakaso—died in action while eight were wounded and are receiving treatment in the DRC.

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The remains of the six fallen soldiers arrived at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Wednesday where President Peter Mutharika, MDF Commander Griffin Supuni Phiri and UN Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres led Malawians in welcoming the fallen soldiers.

“They [the six soldiers] have died for peace. They wanted peace. This is a painful day for us as a nation. It is more painful to die for peace than to die for war,” Mutharika said in his speech at the airport.

Second-in-Command of the Malawi Battalion in the DRC, Masozi Kayira, said the six soldiers were killed in a fight against the Allied Defence Force (ADF).

“We started off at around 5:00 hours on 13th November. There was an exchange of fire with the ADF. We stopped at a camp used by FARDC [The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo]. The ADF continued following us. Though we managed to withdraw to our operation base, we lost our soldiers,” he said

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