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Mnangagwa mourns two Air Force of Zimbabwe pilots who died in crash

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday sent a message of condolence to the families of the two Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) pilots who died when their trainer jet crashed in Gweru on Thursday.

The two AFZ pilot trainers have been named as Group Captain Ben Munyanduki and Wing Commander Daniel Manyenga.

They died after their aircraft hit a power line and crashed while on a routine training exercise near Gweru, the Midlands province last Friday.

In his condolence message, Mnangagwa said the AFZ had lost two of its most experienced pilots.

“The death of two Senior Officer Pilots in a fatal air crash in Midlands on 3rd February 2023, was a heart-wrenching tragedy which robbed our Air Force of Zimbabwe, AFZ, of two of its most experienced cadres whose dedication and loyalty to their country was beyond debate.

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“Late Group Captain Ben Munyanduki and Wing Commander Daniel Manyenga ranked among the best in the Air Force of Zimbabwe and leave behind an indelible career as trainers in the Force.

“I am deeply saddened that such promising Officers whose prospects in AFZ were great, have had their lives cut in this sudden, very violent and unexpected way, all in the course of duty,” he said.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe saluted the late pilots who taught most Air Force of Zimbabwe trainees.

“Our Nation salutes them for their outstanding role in safeguarding Zimbabwe’s airspace, and thus its territorial integrity and sovereignty. They will be sorely missed in the AFZ, and by the many pilots and pilot-cadets who went through their hands.

“On behalf of our Nation, the Zimbabwe Defence Force, ZDF, my Family and on my behalf, I, with a very heavy heart, express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to Families of the two deceased senior officers, and to their spouses and children especially.

“In condoling with the Families, I urge them to find solace and comfort in that our whole Nation shares in their grief and joins them in mourning the two officers’ untimely demise,” he said.

Meanwhile, a funeral parade for the two officers was held at the Josiah Tungamira (formerly Thornhill) Airbase on Tuesday.