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Body of Zambian student killed in Russian-Ukraine war finally arrives home

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The body of a 23-year-old Zambian student, Lemekani Nyirenda, who was killed while fighting for the Russian army in the war in Ukraine has finally been returned home.

The body of Nyirenda, who was studying Nuclear Engineering in a Moscow University, was serving a nine-year prison term over drug trafficking charges before joining the Russian military, arrived at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka on Sunday.

Lemekani was convicted of drug trafficking in April 2020 and sentenced to nine years in prison but was later pardoned through a special amnesty on condition that he participate in the war, local media reports.

The return of his body to his home country was at the instance of the
Zambian government which ha requested that Russian authorities return the body for proper burial following an outcry by his family and citizens.

Last week, Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister, Stanley Kakubo, had traveled to Russia to facilitate the return of Nyirenda’s corpse.

“We were told that on August 23 he was conditionally pardoned and was allowed to participate in a special military operation in which he was killed in September,” said Kakubo.

“We then demanded that officials provide details, not just of his recruitment.”

Kakubo said DNA tests to confirm Nyirenda identity have been conducted and his family will be given compensation by the Russian government.

“Zambia will work to ensure that nothing like this happens again to a Zambian studying in Russia and that there are no other Zambians in Russian prisons.

“Zambians have expressed sadness that a young student was pressed into the Russian military to fight their war in Ukraine,” the Minister added.

The deceased’s family spokesperson, Ian Banda, who addressed journalists after receiving the body, said the corpse will be taken to the mortuary at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka where the doctors will conduct forensic pathology on the body starting Monday.

Metro

Somali military tribunal jails wife of Islamic State leader eight years

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A Somali military tribunal has sentenced the wife of a leader of the Islamic State terrorist group to eight years in prison for “passing on information and organizing financial transactions for the group.”

According to a top Somali military official, the convict, Fartun Abdirashid, the wife of the head of the Daesh (IS) group in the country, Abdiqadir Mumin, was sentenced on Monday after she was found guilty by a military court in Mogadishu.

“Fartun Abdirashid has been under the custody since her arrest in March last year in Mogadishu. Her husband is Abdiqadir Mumin, who is the head of the Daesh group, a terrorist organization linked to the Islamic State,” the military official said.

The Somali public prosecutor’s office, said the suspect was accused of frequently transferring $100 to $200 to the group’s members, and also had a working relationship with Bilal Al-Sudaani, a senior Islamic State group official who was killed last Wednesday in a U.S. raid in the northern Bari region.

Mumin, who was a former al-Shabab cleric, had pledged his allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2015, and has led his group to hold a smaller but significant footprint in Somalia compared to the al-Shabab terrorist group that has carried out numerous attacks in the country.

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Metro

30 killed, 20 missing as tropical storm, Cheneso, sweep across Madagascar

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At least 30 people have been confirmed killed while 20 are missing following flooding and landslides caused by a tropical storm, Cheneso, which swept across Madagascar over the weekend.

The Madagascar National Office for Risk and Disaster Management, in a provisional assessment on Monday, said, the storm which made its first landfall in the northeast of the Indian Ocean island nation last Thursday, has so far impacted close to 89,000 people.

The Madagascan Meteorological Agency in a statement, said the storm, which has now passed across the country into the Mozambique Channel, saw winds gusting up to 170 kilometres per hour (105.63 miles per hour) and unleashed torrential rains.

The director of the Risk and Disaster office, Colonel Faly Aritiana, also said there had been house collapses and landslides in which people were trapped.

“People have been reacting generally in the right way, but some people have not been taking enough note of our warnings not to cross rivers in flood because the flow is much stronger than usual,” Aritiana said.

“The storm has damaged infrastructure, with many roads cut by rising waters, landslides and collapsed bridges,” he added.

Local media say nearly 33,000 people have had to leave their homes in the Boeny region, in the northwest of the island, while the prices of basic foodstuffs have skyrocketed.

“Prices of vegetables and rice increased a lot after the storm with the cost of tomatoes quadrupling. The merchants say it’s because the national road is cut,” it added.

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