German experts to investigate Malawi vice president’s plane crash

by Admin
German experts to investigate Malawi vice president's plane crash

Malawi has started investigations into the cause of a plane crash that killed Vice President Saulos Chilima and nine others June 10 in northern Malawi.

Government spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu said Sunday that German experts will look into several areas leading to the crash of the Dornier 228 aircraft, including the condition of the plane and circumstances.

The military plane went missing soon after it was advised not to land at an airport in northern Malawi because of bad weather.

The arrival of the German experts comes after Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera said last week he was puzzled with what caused the crash of the plane he has long used.

Chakwera said he asked foreign governments to help probe the accident, despite investigations being carried out by the Malawian Defense Force.

Michael Kaiyatsa, executive director for the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, one of several organizations in Malawi that asked for an independent investigation into the crash, welcomes the move.

“However, it is important that the government should not interfere in any way in the investigation,” Kaiyatsa said. “This should be a totally independent investigation so that whatever comes out of it should be credible.”

The sudden death of Chilima sparked conspiracy theories in Malawi and abroad, with some suggesting it was an assassination plot.

Last week, police in Malawi arrested lawmaker Kamlepo Kalua and rights activist Bon Kalindo for circulating messages on social media alleging the plane crash was planned.

The two were charged with cybercrimes and were expected to appear in court June 25.

But Kaiyatsa said arresting those expressing their views on the plane crash would prevent some people from giving information to investigators.

“That’s why we have issued a statement strongly condemning the arrests, because what these arrests would do is to create an atmosphere of fear at a time when we need people to freely open up and clearly come out and provide information about what they know about the cause of the accident,” Kaiyatsa said.

Malawian security expert Sheriff Kaisi said transparency is needed in such investigations to win the confidence of Malawians regarding the investigators.

“We need to know if they are from Germany, which company in Germany, and what is the track record that they have been doing similar jobs. For example, investigating such accidents, and for how long they have done that, and what are the reports they have,” Kaisi said.

Kunkuyu said two of the investigators are from the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation, and one is from General Atomics, a company that has taken over the manufacture of Dornier 228 aircraft.

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