By Brightwell Chabusha

A Zambia Army officer has told the court that he admitted participating in the 2016 ritual killings which happened around Zingalume and George townships because he was tortured by police officers.

In his defence before Court of Appeal judge Florence Lengalenga who sat as a High Court, Lucky Siame, a soldier and a warrant officer Class 2, who was operating at Signal Squadron Zambia Army Headquarters at Arakan Barracks, said police officers subjected him to so much pain which forced him to admit that he participated in the murder of seven people in Lusaka and Solwezi.

In this case, Siame is jointly charged with Lewis Chishimba Bwalya, a witch doctor,
Christopher Kasapo, a Zambia Air Force (ZAF ) office assistant and
Elvis Nyanga, a soldier for seven counts of murder.

The four are alleged to have murdered Clever Changwe Mwape, William Chela, Elias Phiri, Alex Zulu, Boris Muzumara, Amon Sichamba and Anthony Mwaba between March 5 and April 16, 2016.

The men were killed in a similar fashion with most of the victims having their private parts removed.

Police arrested the accused following a tip off from a witch doctor, Mumbo Lwambazi, whom they engaged to cleanse them from ghosts which they said continued to haunt them despite having been cleansed by another traditional healer who is also an accused person.

Judge Lengalenga placed the accused on defence after the prosecution witnesses linked all of them to the offences.

Last year, a trial within trial was ordered in this matter to test the voluntariness of Siame’s confession statement that he participated in the killings.

However, judge Lengalenga in her ruling said Siame’s claims of torture, intimidation and beating by police in order to induce evidence were a mere afterthought as there was no consistency in his statement during cross examination as he contradicted himself on numerous occasions.

But Siame of Zecco Military Camp in George Township in his defence has maintained that he admitted participating in the gruesome act because of pain inflicted on him.

He said he never committed the offences.
Siame recounted how a police officer went to his detention cells on April 22, 2016 with 10 steel nails and a hammer.
The officer whom he came to know as detective Joseph Simuchembi told him that they had given him ample time to disclose what he knew about the suspected ritual killings and that on that day, they would not spare him any further as all the nails would be nailed on his toes using a hammer.

He said when he refused to admit that he participated in the killings, the officer started beating him and inflicting pain on him.

“The pain was too severe, I felt very bad, then they told me to tell them about the ritual killings and that if I didn’t, he would continue to put nails on all my toes,” he said. “Because of the pain, I feared for my life and my body to be mutilated that is when I told them that I knew the people who were behind the ritual killings.”

Siame said he disclosed that he told officers that he knew one of them but they said there was no way he could just know the suspected ritual killers, Collins, who is Nyanga on the indictment, and that the more he refused, the more pain was inflicted on him.

He said later, he admitted that he was one of the ritual killers and that was when the beating stopped.
Trial continues on December 22, 2022.


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