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Stepson of former Malawian leader arrested over mass graves

Stepson of a former Malawian leader is detained over mass graves of alleged migrants.

30 dead were discovered in graves in a woodland in October, prompting authorities to make an arrest, according to Peter Mutharika’s stepson.

Boys and men who were allegedly being smuggled to South Africa as Ethiopian migrants were represented by the corpses.

Strong evidence, according to the police, links Tadikira Mafubza to the graves, and a car that may have been used to transport the gang has also been seized.

Mr. Mafubza is still silent.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which previously held power, however, has characterized his detention as a political witch hunt targeting Mr. Mutharika’s family and his allies.

In October, after young boys allegedly smelled something awful, police discovered a mass burial with 25 dead and graves with five additional victims in a woodland in the northern region of Mzimba.

Although the bodies were exhumed, the authorities have not yet made the findings of the autopsies public.

According to other sources, the group was buried in the forest after allegedly dying of suffocation while being transported.

For migrants coming from Somalia and Ethiopia, both of which have experienced instability, a key trafficking route is Malawi.

A pathologist who is a member of the team performing the autopsies on the deceased stated that while police had already received some of the data, a full report will be provided at the end of the month.

According to the police, Mr. Mafubza turned himself in at their headquarters in the capital city of Lilongwe after they had been looking for him.


Following the discovery of the graves, he is the first person to be detained.


Police stated investigations were ongoing but could not provide any additional information.

Organized gangs that smuggle people from Malawi to South Africa, the US, and Europe are a serious concern.

Uladi Mussa, a former home affairs minister, and an immigration officer were each given a five-year prison sentence by the Malawi High Court in 2020 for assisting non-Malawians in obtaining passports.

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