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Mkushi in bizarre grave thefts

PETER MALASHA writes

@SunZambian   

BIZARRE acts of exhuming bodies at Mkushi’s Chikwasha cemetery, and using the parts for suspected rituals by unknown people, has continued with impunity.

In a recent development, the body of 30-year-old Faith Chisenga, who was buried last Friday, was on Saturday morning found exhumed leaving her grave completely empty.

The relatives who visited the burial site on July 13, found the grave tempered with and her body missing.

Uncle of the deceased, Richard Chisenga, told the Sun in an interview the three caretakers at the graveyard advised them to keep quiet about the discovery to avoid putting themselves in trouble.

“We buried the body on Friday, July 12, 2019. The following morning on Saturday July 13, we went to the graveyard and found that the body was exhumed and the grave was empty,” Mr Chisenga said.

And Loveness Tembo, the mother of the deceased, said family found the wreaths thrown about and all linen from the grave burnt.

“The three caretakers at the graveyard told us not to expose the matter but to keep quiet because we are going to put ourselves in problems,” according to Mr. Chisenga.

He wondered how people who were employed to guard the graveyard could tolerate such lawlessness with impunity while Ms Tembo appealed to government to look into the matter with the seriousness it deserved.

A spot check at the cemetery’s still born bodies section found that a number of graves had been dug up and the corpses were missing.

The First lady, Easter Lungu, was dismayed that some people could resort to such inhumane acts of exhuming bodies and vandalizing graves when she visited the district in May.

Ms Lungu expressed sadness about the development when the District Commissioner, Luka Mwamba, informed her that the area had so far experienced five cases of children’s bodies being exhumed and the deceased’s clothes and parts stolen at the Chikwasha cemetery.

The district commissioner said people initially suspected the dogs were behind the bizarre acts, but later ruled them out due to the manner the thefts were conducted.

The First lady urged people to respect the dead and hoped that the wicked practice would be stopped.

She called for ruthless punishment of anyone found to be involved in the act.

“The information of bodies being exhumed is very sad. People should respect the dead. They are trying to behave in such inhumane manner. Perpetrators should be punished ruthlessly once caught.” Ms. Lungu said.

Meanwhile, the church in Mkushi has described the vandalisation of graves and theft of body parts and clothes at the area’s main graveyard as unbiblical and unfortunate.

In interview with the Daily Nation, Mkushi Saint Mary’s Anglican Church priest-in-charge, Anthony Mulenga said the vile acts should be immediately stopped immediately.

Fr. Mulenga, who is also Mkushi District Men’s Fellowship chairperson, said burial places should never be tempered with as they were sacred resting places for the dead.

“I am so concerned because burial places are sacred grounds. They are places where dead people are supposed to rest. They are supposed to be kept sacred and we should not never temper with them.” Fr. Mulenga said.

“From time immemorial, people have always respected the burial places. Even in the Old Testament, we read that people would come together as family or as a community and provide a burial place for anyone stranded with where to bury their dead,” he said.

The priest has since appealed to the community in Mkushi to keep the burial places safe and to be on the lookout for any people attempting to temper with them.

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