MAN, 95, SHOT DEAD – MURDERED OVER WITCHCRAFT

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PETER SICHALI writes

A 95-YEAR-OLD man of Isoka District has been shot dead by unknown people for allegedly practicing witchcraft.

Muchinga Province Commissioner of Police Joel Njase identified the victim as Jason Mutambo, of Kampumbu Village in Chief Katyetye’s area.

Mr Njase said the murder happened on Wednesday between 01:00 hours and 02:00 hours at Kampumbu Village.

“We received a call from Senior Headman Kampumbu to the effect that one male, Jason Mutambo, aged 95, of Kampumbu Village, Chief Kafwimbi, District Isoka, has been  murdered by unknown person(s),” Mr Njase said.

He said officers from Isoka police station and a medical doctor from Isoka District Hospital rushed to the scene of crime at Senye Village, Chief Katyetye, District Isoka, at 08:44 hours.

“The findings are that two months ago Mr Mutambo was living at Muzatemwa Village, Chief Kafwimbi, District Isoka, where he was accused to be a wizard and his house was burnt to ashes,” Mr Njase said.

He said the victim was forced to relocate to his son James Mutambo’s farm after being accused of practicing witchcraft.

“The officers further learnt that on Tuesday between 23:00 hours and 00:00 hours, female Anna Namwandila, the daughter-in-law of the deceased who leaves approximately eight metres away from his house, heard a sound of a gun while she was asleep,

“This prompted her to wake up and shout for help. The community members responded to her distress call and rushed to see what had happened,” Mr Njase said.

He said the dead body of Mr Mutambo was later identified by his son, James, aged 45 years, of Senye Village.

“Postmortem examination was conducted at the scene of crime and the doctor’s findings are that the deceased was shot on the left side of his chest and that six pallets were removed,” he said

Mr Njase said a homemade gun, a muzzle loader, was used in the killing.

“The pallets have been kept as exhibits and will be sent for ballistic examination,” Mr Njase said.

Old people are often targeted in rural Zambia on suspicion of practicing witchcraft.

The attacks, usually by close relations or the assassins they hire, were often brutal.

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