Alert! US Embassy Warns Its Citizens of Potential Unrest Amid Vice President’s Funeral

Saulos Chilima was Vice President of Malawi

The United States Embassy has issued a caution to its citizens living in Malawi regarding the ongoing state funeral proceedings in Lilongwe.

In a statement released on Thursday, June 13th, the embassy advised US citizens to exercise caution during the funeral events, citing the potential for civil unrest as crowds attending the proceedings may escalate and become volatile.

The statement highlighted the likelihood of increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic in Lilongwe, including popular routes, due to funeral activities and other events associated with the recent plane crash. The embassy warned of the possibility of civil unrest that could escalate unexpectedly.

“Due to funerals and other activities associated with Monday plane crash, there is likely to be increased vehicular and foot traffic over the weekend in areas of Lilongwe including well-traveled routes. There is potential for civil unrest and it is always possible to grow and turn violent without warning,” reads the statement. 

Additionally, the embassy cautioned against using the Lilongwe M1 road until at least Tuesday, June 17th, as it is expected to experience higher-than-usual traffic, especially with Vice President Chilima’s interment scheduled in his hometown of Nsipe, approximately three hours south of Lilongwe.

Amidst these warnings, the United Transformation Movement (UTM) party, a member of the governing Tonse Alliance, has urged for calm during the mourning period, emphasizing the late Vice President’s legacy as a peaceful leader.

Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, the former leader of the UTM party and Vice President of Malawi, tragically lost his life alongside eight others in a plane crash at Chikangawa Forest in Mzimba on May 10th, 2024.