Well-placed Malawi Police Service (MPS) sources, who asked not to be named because they aren’t authorised to speak, said the fugitive was arrested Tuesday (today) morning in Rusternburg, South Africa where he was hiding.
MPS were tipped off to the accused killer’s whereabouts last week by those who knew him. Wasting no time, MPS quickly requested Interpol Pretoria to check into they reported today that indeed “they had identified and arrested Misonzi Chanthunya.”
Chanthunya, 36, was living with a Malawian woman in South Africa, MPS said
In August 2010, Linda Gasa’s body was found buried under a slab at the cottage of her lover, Chanthunya. Twenty-five-year old Gasa, who was a second-year student at the Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA), was last seen on August 4 of that year in the company of Chanthunya, a married businessman.
Gasa’s cousin Jessie Kachale had said at the that the love-birds had gone to the southern lakeshore district of Mangochi to discuss her three-month old pregnancy which Chanthunya wanted terminated against her will.
Autopsy results established that Gasa didn’t die of natural causes but was “poisoned” and that the she “had been pregnant at some point before her death”. Her remains were taken to her home country of Zimbabwe for burial.
Malawian police were roundly criticized for its handling of the investigation and for not arresting Chanthunya who skipped the country after being questioned by police over Gasa’s death.
Chanthunya had told police that he had dropped off his girlfriend, who was on her way to Harare, Zimbabwe, at Blantyre’s main station to catch a bus.
But the deceased’s relatives said Chanthunya he had earlier indicated to have bought her an air ticket for the same reason.
Malawi Police Inspector General Peter Mukhito acknowledged fault in the manner his officers handled the case. And last year – a year after Gasa’s death and Chanthunya disappearance – police said they were still looking for the fugitive.
“No matter how long it takes he will still have murder charges hanging on him,” police publicist Willie Mwaluka was quoted by the Daily Times as saying. “The matter was reported to International Police who are helping us with the search.” “Yes, I can confirm that Misozi Chanthunya was arrested this morning in Rusternbug, South Africa in the North West Province,” Malawi Inspector General of Police (IG) Peter Mukhito said Tuesday evening. “He was cohabiting with a Malawian girl.”
Mukhito said the Malawi Police Intelligence passed to Interpol Pretoria information which led to the arrest.
MPS sources said Tuesday since the incident, police had followed a number of leads which didn’t yield results until last week. There was even a false report which said Chanthunya had been arrested on the Caribbean islands of Cuba.
Chanthunya was being processed in South Africa before being dispatched to Malawi to answer charges relating to the death of Gasa.