Mozambique has repatriated bodies of four Malawian nationals shot dead in its territory while in transit to South Africa by road.
The four men, who were among 24 Malawians on the trip, were reportedly shot dead on the night of April 23 by unknown gunmen wearing military outfit around Catandika in Mozambique.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Rejoice Chaponda said in an interview on Wednesday Mozambican authorities handed over the dead bodies as well as the survivors to Malawian diplomats on Tuesday.
She said the remains of the four were expected to arrive home on Wednesday evening through Mwanza Border Post from Tete where they were being kept.
Last weekend, Malawi deployed diplomats from the Malawi High Commission in Mozambique to Tete Province where the incident occurred to establish the circumstances leading to the shooting and subsequent death of the four Malawians.
Said Chaponda: “The [High] commission in Maputo is expected to issue a report to Malawi Government and unless we get that report at the moment we cannot tell the nation what precisely happened.”
The Malawians are said to be from Machinga and Mangochi districts and, according to Immigration officials, 17 of them returned home on April 30 after seeking refuge in Tete for a week.
During the incident, three other Malawians reportedly sustained gunshot wounds and were admitted to Chimoio Hospital in Tete.
Reports indicate that on the night of the fateful day, a lorry the 24 Malawians were traveling in was stopped by gunmen at a checkpoint and after being interrogated the militiamen opened fire killing on the spot the four people who were sitting in front.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Francis Kasaila, has warned Malawians wishing to travel to South Africa against using the Tete-Beira route in Mozambique.
The route is volatile following clashes between government forces and opposition Renamo soldiers. The conflict has resulted in more than 12 000 Mozambicans fleeing to Malawi.