State forensic pathologist testifies in another suspected ritual case
By Staff Reporter
A STATE forensic pathologist has told the Lusaka High Court that victims in the suspended ritual killings case died from blunt force head injuries before some of their body parts were mutilated.
Dr Mubanga Mucheleng’anga said the findings from postmortems conducted on the bodies revealed that the victims had chopped wounds caused by a sharp instrument leading to fractured skulls and brain bleed, which was the cause of death.
Dr Mucheleng’anga was testifying in a case in which a 30-year-old man of Lusaka is accused of murdering seven people in suspected ritual circumstances.
Nickson Tembo, a street vendor of house number 143/13 in Lilanda West, is alleged to have murdered seven people in Matero Township.
The murders were committed between December 2017 and February 2018.
Tembo is in this matter jointly charged with four men – Zambia Army officer Lucky Siame, Zambia Air Force ( ZAF) civilian Christopher Kasapo and Elvis Nyanga and traditional doctor Chishimba Bwalya who were recently found with a case to answer and placed on defence for allegedly murdering seven people in suspected ritual killings around George township which rocked the country in 2016.
When the case of Tembo came up before High Court judge Catherine Phiri, Dr Mucheleng’anga said on a date he could not recall, he was tasked to conduct a postmortem on a body found in Matero.
“The body was brought to me by police officers and we proceeded to conduct a postmortem after seeing the order from the coroner,” he said.
Dr Mucheleng’anga said he prepared a report which he handed over to police.
He said after examining the body of the unidentified victim, the most significant finding was a chop wound on the forehead, abrasions on the face, scratches on the skin and a fracture on the skull.
Dr Mucheleng’anga said there were other injuries inflicted on the victims after they were killed.
“There was an opening below the rib cage measuring 35 centimetres, the heart and the liver were missing, the ears were cut off and the penis was also decapitated,” he said.
Dr Mucheleng’anga said after examining the body, a pot was taken to him by the investigation officer containing a heart and a liver cut in pieces.
“In the pot, was a heart that appeared and smelt as if it was cooked, and a liver. I knew it was a human heart because the way it appeared was consistent,” he said.
“The samples were not sent for DNA testing, we need an expert in
forensics to tell us if we can extract DNA from the cooked samples,” he said.
Dr Mucheleng’anga said a reconstruction was also done to demonstrate that the penis was chopped off from the victim.
He said the anthropological and anatonomical view matched, meaning the part of the penis was from the unidentified victim’s body.
“Since the cooked organs were found at the crime scene, it is logical to infer that these may have been obtained from the deceased,” Dr Mucheleng’anga said.
He said other postmortem reports conducted on several other bodies by his fellow pathologists Victor Telendi and Tadgimurat Musakhanov showed similar results as the one for the unidentified victim.
Dr Mucheleng’anga identified some of the victims as Mabvuto Phiri,Levis Mwabuka and Jack Tembo, where one of the victims had a mutilated lung.
Hearing continues today, Thursday.