Zambian student killed while fighting for Russia to be buried nearly five months later

for Tv47 Digital January 25, 2023, 06:04 AM
Zambian student Lemekhani Nyirenda killed in Ukraine
Family members of the late Lemekhani Nyirenda (pictured right) who was killed last September. PHOTOS/COURTESY

In Summary

  • Lemekhani  Nyirenda will be buried in Rufunsa district, eastern Zambia. 
  • "I will miss my son’s naughtiness, which I enjoyed so much,” his mother Florence said during a memorial service. 

Zambian student Lemekhani Nyirenda, who died last year while fighting for Russian forces in Ukraine, will buried on Wednesday, January 25.

Nyirenda died in September 2022 and his body was repatriated back into his home country six weeks ago. 

He was serving a drugs-related prison sentence in Russia but was freed on condition of signing up to fight for the country in Ukraine. 

Nyirenda was recruited by the mercenary group Wagner, who offered him a deal: Fight for Russia and be pardoned or serve out the prison term. He died in the battle field. 

The 23-year-old was pursuing Nuclear Engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in Russia. 

Nyirenda’s mother, Florence, told a farewell church gathering in the capital, Lusaka, that she will miss her son who was the last born in the family of four. "I will miss my son’s naughtiness which I enjoyed so much,” she said.

Nyirenda will be buried in Rufunsa district, eastern Zambia. 

His death mirrors that of Tanzanian student Nemes Tarimo, 33, who died in Ukraine last December. A Master's student at the Russian Technological University, he had also been plucked from prison by Wagner.

Nemes Tarimo’s body is yet to be returned to the family in Tanzania. "We are sad to lose our son. We still don't know when the body will arrive, but we have been ready for a week now to receive it and lay him in his eternal home," the late's aunt Roida Sambulika said. 

The ambitious young man harboured dreams of becoming a Member of Parliament with the opposition Chadema party.

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