21 November 2012

Zambia: 'My Sister's Body Was Partially Burnt'

A WITNESS yesterday told the Kabwe High Court that the body of a woman alleged to have been killed by a soldier was partially burnt and had its skin peeled off.

In a fully-packed courtroom, Rachael Malakata, the deceased's sister, narrated that her sister was found without hair on the head, an indication that it had been pulled off.

This is in a case in which a Kabwe soldier, Steven Kabayo 31, is accused of murdering his 17-year-old wife Melody Kasonde, whose body was discovered in a shallow well.

The testimony sent relatives and other people in the public gallery sobbing.

Between December, 27 and 29, last year, Kabayo and another soldier Brian Kayuni 34, are alleged to have killed Melody, who at the time was pregnant.

Ms Malakata, 26, testified before Justice Elita Mwikisa that she was called to identify her sister's body at Kabwe General Hospital mortuary on December, 29, last year.

She said the body appeared to have been burnt and was half naked while the face was swollen and eyes were sunken.

As the witness continued with her testimony, people in the gallery, mostly women, shed tears as others followed the proceedings from the windows.

She said Kabayo, sometime in August, 2009, impregnated her sister at the time she was in Grade nine which eventually kept her out of school.

She said Kabayo had shown interest in marrying her sister but asked for time as he was going for military training in 2010.

On his return in January 2011, Kabayo approached the girl's family and paid K20, 000 as dowry.

Following her second pregnancy, Kabayo told the girl's parents that since she was expecting his child, they should take care of her as they did during the first pregnancy.

However, the girl's aunt, mother and traditional counsellors took Melody back to Kabayo's house and that it was at this point that problems started.

Ms Malakata said Kabayo started beating his wife and that at one point the case was reported to the police.

She said on December 27, last year, her sister was in town with her mother when Kabayo allegedly called for her and and that was the last time she was seen alive.

But in cross examination by Kabayo's lawyer, Tutwa Ngulube, Ms Malakata insisted that although she may not have seen the accused beating her sister, she was convinced that he was the one who killed her.

Trial continues.

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