Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has withdrawn its team of divers and other soldiers from Mlowe area in Rumphi where they were searching for 10 missing persons from an Easter Sunday boat tragedy.
But the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) and MDF have refused to declare the missing persons dead.
MDF acting spokesperson Wilned Chawinga on Monday confirmed the withdrawal of the divers and other soldiers who were deployed to help with the search of the missing people.
He said the withdrawal was for good as the search had taken long without finding the missing persons.
Said Chawinga: “I can confirm that our search team has left the area. The team left on April 30.”
Director for response and recovery Paul Kalilombe said government saw it fit to halt the MDF search operation after noting that weeks had passed without finding the 10 missing people.
He said government believes there will only be recovery of bodies and has since engaged the community to take responsibility of handling the bodies in the event that they are found floating on the lake or washed to the shore.
Rumphi Police spokesperson Victor Khamisi said the development means there is no more searching as police also withdrew its team.
A boat carrying about 70 people capsized on Lake Malawi on April 16 in Rumphi District. Six people have been confirmed dead, 54 survived and 10 are still missing.
Most of the victims were members of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia who were returning home from Easter prayers at Mlowe. n