Military funeral ceremony held for six Malawian soldiers

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Bodies of six Malawian soldiers who died in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week arrived in the country this afternoon through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe where a military funeral was also held.

President Peter Mutharika received the bodies of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers.

Mutharika paying his respects

Speaking during the funeral service, Mutharika who is also commander in-chief said Malawi has lost heroes of peace for Africa.

He added that Malawi is a peace-loving country because peace is a fundamental belief upon which the nation was founded.

The Malawi leader then declared that neither death nor the enemy will stop Malawians from being warriors for peace.

“Our heroes of peace died because we love peace more than war. We never sent our soldiers to wage war. We sent our soldiers to keep peace.

“Peace is a universal desire for mankind. Peace is a desirable condition of existence for all humans,” he said.

Mutharika also commended the MDF for being an exemplary peace-keeping force.

“From every part of the world, I receive reports of commendation that our Defense Force is known for discipline, loyalty, and effectiveness.

MDF soldiers carrying photographs of the fallen heroes

“In life and death, you have raised high the flag of our country with patriotism, integrity and hardwork. That is what we are,” he said.

According to Mutharika, the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres called on Saturday and offered his condolences to the president, the families of the soldiers and to all Malawians.

The six soldiers – Sergeant Steven Kambalame aged 38, Private Chauncy Chitete aged 29, Private Benjamin Nsongela aged 29, Private Simplex Taferakaso, Lieutenant Aubrey Kachemwe aged 35 and Corporal Jonathan Kapichira aged 36 – were part of a United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) peacekeeping mission in DRC.

Speaking during the service, Major Masozi Kaira said the soldiers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania had an operation to advance into rebel positions.

He added that while advancing, the soldiers came into contact with the rebels – the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). There was heavy exchange of gunfire and the six Malawian soldiers were killed.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the soldiers have been taken to their respective homes for burial.

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