World

Malawi ex-leader’s stepson arrested over mass graves

It has been reported that police have found substantial evidence connecting Tadikira Mafubza to the graves, and a car believed to have been used to transport the gang has been impounded.

Police in Malawi say they have detained the stepson of ex-president Peter Mutharika after 30 corpses were discovered in graves in a jungle in October.

They were young men and boys, perhaps Ethiopian migrants being smuggled to South Africa.

It has been reported that police have found substantial evidence connecting Tadikira Mafubza to the graves, and a car believed to have been used to transport the gang has been impounded.

Until this point, Mafubza has said nothing.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), however, claims that Mutharika’s detention is part of a political witch hunt targeting his loved ones and followers.

In October, police discovered a mass burial containing 25 people and two other graves containing five bodies in a forest in the northern region of Mzimba.

Authorities have exhumed the dead, but they haven’t released the findings of the autopsies yet.

Many of the passengers reportedly passed out during the trip and were later buried in the woods.

Because of its proximity to Ethiopia and Somalia, Malawi serves as a key transit point for people fleeing these two war-torn countries.

A doctor working on the autopsy team told police that preliminary findings had been presented and that a full report would be given by the end of the month.

According to the police, Mafubza turned himself in at their Lilongwe, the capital, headquarters.

After the discovery of the graves, he is the first person to be taken into custody.

However, the police did not provide any additional information and claimed that their probe was ongoing.

Human trafficking syndicates are a major issue for Malawi, with victims often heading to South Africa, the United States, or Europe.

Former Home Affairs Minister Uladi Mussa and an immigration official were both given a five-year prison term by the Malawi High Court in 2020 for assisting foreign nationals in obtaining Malawian passports.