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Presidential convoy in accident

2 Malawi Defence Force soldiers die, several injured

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END OF THE ROAD—The ill-fated vehicle

A dark cloud hovered over Malawi Monday when the country lost two soldiers who were part of President Lazarus Chakwera’s convoy from Lilongwe to Blantyre Monday.

The soldiers had covered the 311.7-kilometre (km) distance from the capital city to the commercial city using the M1 Road without facing any hiccups but, just when they were travelling on the road close to Grace Bandawe Conference Centre in Blantyre, which is roughly 8.5km from the President’s destination of Sanjika Palace, disaster struck as the Land Cruiser they were travelling in on the presidential convoy veered off the road.

Malawi Defence Force acting Information Officer Major Emmanuel Mlelemba confirmed that, sadly, two dedicated soldiers died in the road accident.

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“I can confirm that we have, indeed, lost two of our soldiers to the accident and two have been discharged while seven are being treated at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) [in Blantyre],’’ Mlelemba said.

He said there were at least 11 people involved in the accident.

Later in the evening yesterday Chakwera visited injured soldiers at QECH, where he cheered them up. He said he wished them a quick recovery.

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Malawi Police Service spokesperson James Kadadzera said they were working around the clock to get all the details about the Blantyre accident.

“I can confirm that there was an accident in Blantyre. We are waiting for details of those involved and the cause,” Kadadzera said.

Government spokesperson Gospel Kazako described the development as sad.

The Information Minister said Chakwera was saddened with the loss of the men in uniform, especially because he knew them by name and face.

“President Lazarus Chakwera is saddened with the loss of lives of these brave soldiers,’’ Kazako said.

Kazako said the vehicle the soldiers were travelling in comes last at the end of the presidential convoy.

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