In the wake of the cold-blood murders of two soldiers in Ntcheu by a fellow soldier, it has raised a lot of concerns on social media about the mental state of soldiers especially those returning from missions.
The comment section on Facebook was a host to discussions around what might have caused the soldier to make such a drastic decision. One thing was certain; his mental state was the probable cause.
In an interview, spokesperson for the Malawi Defense Force (MDF), Major Paul Chiphwanya said they are still investigating the matter.
“We are not aware that Corporal Robert Banya had mental health problems,” Major Chiphwanya said.
He added that two years ago MDF sent Banya on United Nations (UN) peace keeping mission but does not know if that had any effect on his mental health.
The MDF spokesperson pointed out that currently they do not have a facility for psychological or psychiatric service in the various barracks in the country.
A psychologist working with the University of Malawi, College of Nursing, Moses Muotcha said military mission is very risky and can cause post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicidal, homicidal thoughts and rage among others.
“I dont know the setup with our military but in other countries, soldiers undergo mental preparation before they are released for their normal duties and after they come back,” he said.
He added that it is important that they have a psychologist or psychiatrist on site for the soldiers mental wellbeing.
Corporal Robert Banya hailed from Blantyre. He murdered both Corporal Keston Mtambo and Gift Magombo in cold blood last week. Allegedly the incident happened because Banya had a quarrel with his girlfriend who his colleagues were trying to protect in an onset of a violent situation.