Expert calls for mental health facility at MDF

A mental health expert has underlined the importance of a psychiatrist at the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) following the murder of two soldiers by a fellow soldier in Ntcheu.

Earlier this month, Corporal Robert Banya murdered his fellow soldiers and was later killed by a team that was deployed to apprehend him.

Banya: killed fellow soldiers

spokesperson for the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) Major Paul Chiphwanya told Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Thursday that Banya was sent on United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission two years ago but the MDF does not know if that had any effect on his mental health.

The MDF spokesperson added that currently they do not have a facility for psychological or psychiatric service in the various barracks in the country.

Commenting on the issue, a psychologist working with the University of Malawi, College of Nursing, Moses Muotcha, said military mission is very risky and can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicidal, homicidal thoughts and rage among others.

“I don’t know the setup with our military but in other countries, soldiers undergo mental preparation before they are released for their normal duties and after they come back,” he said.

He added that it is important that they have a psychologist or psychiatrist on site for the soldiers mental wellbeing.

Banya who hailed from Blantyre. He murdered both Corporal Keston Mtambo and Gift Magombo in cold blood last week.

The MDF said they were still investigating the incident.