Lilongwe – The stepson of Malawi’s former president Peter Mutharika was arrested on Wednesday in connection with last month’s discovery of a mass grave containing bodies of suspected Ethiopian migrants, police said.
Tadikira Mafubza, handed himself over after he learnt police were looking for him, police spokesperson Peter Kalaya told AFP.
“The evidence that we have is overwhelming and it clearly connects him to the case… of a mass grave that was found in Mzimba where 30 bodies were exhumed that are suspected to be of Ethiopian migrants,” said Kalaya.
“That is why we have arrested him,” he said, adding officers were seeking others linked to the “organised crime”.
Police in October unearthed the bodies after being alerted by villagers in the Mzimba area, about 250km (155 miles) north of the capital Lilongwe, who stumbled on the grave while collecting wild honey in a forest.
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After a few days of combing the area, a total of 30 bodies were unearthed in various locations around the area.
The victims were believed to be Ethiopian males aged between 25 and 40 and were thought to have been heading to South Africa.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has described Malawi as “a transit for migrants from the Horn of Africa travelling… from as far north as Ethiopia in a bid to reach South Africa in search of employment”.
Mutharika, 82, was president between May 2014 and June 2020.
He lost a presidential re-election bid after a top court annulled his earlier victory over electoral irregularities.