The man who allegedly administered a lethal drug, raped and participated in the peeling-off of Ruth Mbandu’s facial skin before killing her, has appeared in a Lusaka magistrate’s court as the sixth murder suspect in the case.
Collins Kasiye Sooma, 23, of Mpika who allegedly confessed having participated in the gruesome murder that shocked the nation was enlisted to the indictment of five other suspects charged with murdering 19-year-old Ruth on July 13, this year. Sooma demanded that he be given back his medicine and a bowl confiscated from him when he was arrested.The medicine was not specified.Sooma said he had the personal effects when he was arrested in Mpika and he wanted them back for use at his “newfound home.”
“I am asking the police to give me the items they got from me including my clothes, a phone, a dish and medicine,” Sooma said.
Magistrate Malupenga ruled that Sooma be given back his personal effects but not his mobile phone.Sooma is alleged to have committed several rape cases and was picked up from Mpika in connection with Ruth’s murder.He allegedly confessed and recounted how he and others hit Ruth with a sharp object on her head and injected her with a lethal drug before gouging her eyes.Her facial skin was also removed.
The State prosecutor informed Magistrate Betty Malupenga that the case was scheduled for mention but that they wanted Sooma to be added to the list of suspects.Those already appearing in court are Ruth’s uncle George Kalomo, 31; Bishop Evans Ngulube, 58; Edward Siandima, 28; Emmanuel Serenje, 23; and Jordan Kapembwa, 25.
Ms Malupenga later asked the six whether they understood the charge to which they all responded in the affirmative.She informed the accused persons that they could not take plea because the offence they were facing could only be tried in the High Court.
Kalomo complained to the court that he, together with the other four accused persons, were on Monday allegedly forced to sign a document accepting Sooma as their co-accused in the murder of Ruth.He said when he and the four other accused persons were moved from Lusaka Central Prison, they were not told where they were going and were then taken to Ridgeway Police Station.Kalomo said they found armed plain clothes police officers at the police station and that they were led to a room which had another set of armed police officers.He asked the court why he was made to sign the document in the absence of his lawyers.
“Your Honour, we had no opportunity for legal representation in this democratic era…. imagine Your Honour,” Kalomo said.
But Ms Malupenga said police were on firm ground because it had been procedure to re-arrest suspects together with others.
Ruth’s naked body was discovered in the early hours of July 14, this year in Emmasdale residential area.
Ms Malupenga set November 20, 2012 as another date for mention pending instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions to commit them to the High Court.