Monday, June 17, 2024

Abductors convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment as prosection breaks new ground in fight against GBV

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In a significant victory for the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) has secured the conviction and subsequent sentencing of the perpetrators in the Abduction of 13 girls case to Life Imprisonment. The Lusaka High Court has sentenced James Bwalya Mulenga and Mathews Sikaonga for multiple offenses including Rape, Abduction, Aggravated assault with intent to steal, Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, and Grievous Harm.

The NPA’s legal team has displayed immense dedication and skill in achieving this ground-breaking outcome. Through the use of Victim Impact Statements during the sentence hearing, the NPA has set a new precedent in the prosecution of criminal cases. These statements shed light on the aggravating circumstances of the case and the profound impact the offenses had on the victims. Moreover, the NPA ensured that the identities of all the victims remained protected throughout the proceedings.

The successful prosecution of this landmark case underscores the unwavering commitment of the NPA in the fight against GBV. It reaffirmed their collective determination to eradicate violence against women and girls. The NPA said it remains steadfast in its mission to bring justice to victims of GBV and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

On October 3rd, 2022, the Zambia Police Service successfully rescued 13 girls who were held captive in a house in Lusaka’s Chalala area. The police had conducted a thorough investigation following Pamela Chisumpa’s abduction, leading to the arrest of five individuals connected to the case. Three were apprehended in Lusaka, while the remaining two were arrested in Kaoma, Western Province.

Reports later confirmed the capture of the remaining suspected abductors, Mathews Sikaonga and James Bwalya, as they attempted to cross into Angola. In a video circulating on social media, one of the apprehended abductors expressed remorse and apologized to the families of the kidnapped girls. He revealed their motive was financial gain, and they had planned to leave the country using the money they expected to obtain.

After the 13 abducted girls were rescued, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services took charge of their welfare, providing them with a Place of Safety as mandated by relevant legislation. The survivors underwent medical examinations to assess their health status and determine the extent of their sexual exploitation and abuse. Although they were reported to be in good spirits, the traumatic experience necessitated trauma and psychosocial therapy as part of their healing process.

The Ministry collaborated with social workers, psychologists from Chainama Hospital, the gender division, and non-governmental organizations to ensure the survivors received necessary support during their stay in the Place of Safety. Reintegration efforts were also undertaken, with the young women being reunited with their families after undergoing psychosocial and mental therapy.

The NPA’s successful prosecution of the abductors serves as a milestone in the fight against GBV. It sends a strong message that such heinous crimes will not be tolerated, and perpetrators will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The NPA remains committed to working tirelessly to protect the rights and safety of women and girls in Zambia.

17 COMMENTS

  1. NPA should not celebrate, this was a straight and forward case. The evidence was overwhelming. Is the government going to consider those who lead to the arrest of these guys.

    Police did not do any job. It was the public that did the job.

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    • Hard to believe that it happened in God’s own country, Zambia. Perimeter walls that people have been compelled to build enable a lot of crimes to go undetected. The young misfits surely have a lot of information which the police can benefit from as they try to protect the public.

  2. This case might be reopened in future because of the rigged investigation. There are still many unanswered questions. Who financed the rent and in whose name was the lease? Who were the people that used to visit the house apart from the abductors? It’s like vital information has been suppressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if these chaps get released any time soon

    • The victims are not children. If what you say really happened, the victims themselves have surely told the police already. Those questions you have asked have surely been asked by Chali Hambayi from the DPP’s office. If you think only you are concerned, please make a date with the police so that things begin to happen.

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    • Ayatollah, usually I agree with you but on this one you are wrong. This was really a case of two confused individuals who targeted female friends, locked them up, beat them and sent pictures to their families asking for money.
      I don’t think your expectation that there must be people funding them is logical. From amongst the worst politicians you can think, what would they possibly gain from funding these two youths?
      You are attempting to attribute a crime to either political or civil leaders.
      And in any case, If they are facing life imprisonment, why would they hold out and not reveal who supposedly funded them?

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    • @Chiza Chirwa, my opinion is from reports that are available. Why were the girls confined at some place and no one was allowed access for some time? The house was rented by youths without an income and one of the victims revealed that they were visited by some elderly persons, about 5 in number. Surely, wouldn’t you be interested in getting further details? Review the reports about the case and how it unfolded. Even the police weren’t enthusiastic about responding to the distress call. Well, there things got me thinking

  3. The whole operation and jail sentence has been “rigged” all because one of the two convicts is a known cadre. Certainly, those two little things can’t on their own stage that act. As long as the masterminds are on the run, the, the jail term is not a panacea. Also where are those people who staged the gassing episodes?

  4. There is a lot things surround this case that have not been handled. Both the Police and the NPA have failed to answer and bring to book a lot of people. Who owns the house, who was paying the rentals and buying food? Those people were abducted for a very long time so who visited that house during the period. What about the census people, did they account for these people when they visited the house. I think calling this gender based violence is diluting the case.

  5. Poor journalism and blantant lack of ethics…how do you show faces of young girls that were trumatised and sexually abused or r@ped? As for the Police again on display was there incompetence they had given up on the case, if one of the girls had not made a run for it they would have never found them. What was the motive? Who are the finances of this crime? In other countries an inquest would be created to stop something like this ever happening again.

  6. This case is too complex to execute the conviction so fast. It is suspicious. It needs to be probed further. why has the judge moved so fast. with 13 victims and the case is over! Well, God knows. The justice system has challenges.

  7. They almost crossed into Angola. How could these wreched devils manage to leave Lusaka,cross Barosteland etc let alone knowing the direction of the Angola border? Like the gassing game, this one is full of intrigue.

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