THE grisly murder of a 20-year-old taxi driver in Lusaka brings to the fore yet another jigsaw puzzle that requires highly skilled and judicious police officers to crack.
It is clear that yesterday's atrocious killing was carried out in the same manner Ruth Mbandu was executed and dumped in Emmasdale on that fateful July 14 night.
Ruth, who was 19 at the time, had her facial skin peeled off and eyes forked out by assailants who dumped her body near her home.
Mathew Chipili was also brutally killed yesterday by sick perpetrators who gouged out his left eye and cut off his tongue. His throat and facial skin were not spared.
The pattern of these abominable acts is similar, pointing to the fact that a group of misfits is on the loose in the capital city and pouncing on unsuspecting residents.
It appears that these criminals lurk in places such as stations in the evening or early morning hours as though they are out on a business trip, but swoop on innocent souls.
Ruth could have been waylaid from a station or near such a facility and so was Mr Chipili who was 'booked' from Ng'ombe taxi rank.
Another victim, Sharon Tembo of Matero was attacked near a shopping centre in July this year while the following month, 23-year-old Mazuba Kapembwa of Woodlands was raped before being killed in Chilenje near a bus station.
All the victims in Lusaka have been tactfully lured within townships and have been discovered within the dwelling localities.
These criminals are targeting body parts which, perhaps, they sell off or submit to their masters for rituals.
Others have been misled by the so-called traditional healers to get delicate human organs for 'processing' so that they could get rich.
Yet the characters that subscribe to such shocking methods are themselves poor.
It is also true that some satanic organisations disguising themselves as churches have had their share in these ritual killings.
They recommend to newly-initiated members to get blood and body parts as a first stage of accreditation. How beastly!
Under the circumstances, it will be impossible for law enforcement officers to track down criminals without conducting thorough research firstly from previous dastard killings and secondly from communities.
Police should extend their investigations to some strange organisations that are springing up and headed by self-styled and self-ordained preachers with odd doctrines.
Community sensitisation programmes must be intensified in all public places, learning institutions, and work places.
The youth in particular should be blended in sensitisation programmes while teachers in primary and nursery schools along with their pupils must be given extra publicity about these prowlers.
People should avoid lone movements in the night and early morning in back streets and isolated paths that are now havens for criminals.
This country cannot continue losing human beings at the hands of senseless, inhuman, barbaric misfits. They must be withdrawn from public circulation.
Law enforcement officers must intensify foot and motorised patrols in all areas all the time.
It is time the prowlers were nailed!
Certainly, it is unfair to pounce on an innocent person, such as Mr Chipili, who was on the rank to raise money for his family. His life ended so sadly!
We urge law enforcement officers to work extra hard and bring to an end this crime pattern.