How was Zambian student, 23, jailed in Russia for nine years killed at battlefront in Ukraine?

for Tv47 Digital November 15, 2022, 11:17 AM
Zambian student dies in Ukraine war
Members of the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service attend a training session near the border with Belarus and Poland in Volyn region, Ukraine November 16, 2021. PHOTO/REUTERS

In Summary

  • The student was supposed to be serving prison sentence in Moscow, but somehow ended up being killed at the battlefront in Ukraine.
  • Zambia wants Russia to explain the circumstances under which the student was recruited as a soldier and sent to Ukraine.

Today Zambia is asking Russia the hard questions.

The government was on Monday, November 14 at pains to announce to the country about the death of Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, a 23-year-old Zambian student.

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Stanley Kakubo says that Nyirenda, who was pursuing Nuclear Engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPHI) in Russia, died at the battlefront of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The student reportedly died on September 22, 2022 in Ukraine, with the Zambian embassy in Moscow confirming that his remains have since been transported to the Russian border town of Rostov, in readiness for repatriation to Zambia.

How was he killed in Ukraine?

The landlocked country now wants Russia to explain how Nyirenda, who was supposed to serving a prison sentence, could have been recruited to fight in Ukraine and lose his life.

Apparently, Nyirenda contravened the laws of Russian Federation and was sentenced to nine years and six months imprisonment. He was serving his sentence at Tyer Medium Security Prison on the outskirts of Moscow.

The minister's statement did not specify the offence the student committed to warrant his imprisonment.

There have been reports that the Wagner mercenary group has been recruiting thousands of soldiers from Russian prisons and deploying them to Ukraine, with the promise of a salary and an amnesty.

Ukraine sources have also alleged that ex-convicts were being used as bait to draw fire and reveal Ukrainian positions.

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