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Chakwera saddened with soldiers’ death

By Solister Mogha

Zomba, June 14, Mana: Minister of Defence, Harry Mkandawire has said that President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera was saddened by the death of Col. Owen Sambalopa and other army officers killed in the aircraft which claimed the life of Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima.

In his eulogy, he said the loss of one soldier was a big threat and a major concern to national security.

Mkandawire said as the Commander In-Chief of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Chakwera has not yet come to terms with the accident because the death was a big loss to the country.

He said Chakwera mourns with the bereaved families and Malawians at large for the tragic loss.

“Colonel Sambalopa was one of the Senior Army Officers and losing such a person is a huge concern,” the Minister said.

Mkandawire appealed for unity and patience as the country mourns all those who died in the plane crash.

He announced that President Chakwera has condoled the family with K1 million to help in time of grief.

MDF Commander General, Valentino Phiri said Colonel Sambalopa was one of the dedicated officers of the MDF and served the nation with diligence.

He said the army has lost one of the finest officers who did not compromise military principles.

Phiri said he was devastated as an individual because the late Sambalopa was his student at the Malawi Armed Forces College in Salima.

He said Colonel Sambalopa was an instructor and an experienced pilot and flight instructor and that his death has created a huge gap for the MDF to easily find a replacement of such caliber.

Phiri appealed to Malawians to desist from speculations and refrain from hearsays following the plane accident in Chikangawa Forest in Mzimba on Monday.

He appealed to the bereaved family to unite and ensure that deceased property and money that will be given to the family be given to children and the wife.

Member of Parliament for Zomba Malosa, Grace Kwelepeta hailed the late Colonel Sambalopa for contributing to the development of the country.

An aunt to late Sambalopa, Dorothy Ngoma said the family has lost a family man and someone who cared for everyone in the family.

“We have lost an energetic son who believed in family unity and always wished the best for everyone. We have more questions than answers but we believe this is death and we will all die one day,” she said.

Sambalopa was born on September 30, 1969 and joined the MDF in March 1999.He is survived by a wife and four children.

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