Jailed Zambian Student Killed in Ukraine Fighting for Russia

Jailed Zambian Student Killed in Ukraine Fighting for Russia (News Central TV)

Zambia’s foreign minister on Monday said a Zambian student, Lemekhani Nyirenda who had been jailed in Russia was killed on the frontlines in Ukraine and demanded an explanation from the Kremlin.

Nyirenda, 23, was studying nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, but in 2020 he was sentenced to nine years in prison for an unspecified offence.

Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stanley Kakubo said Nyirenda, who was a government-sponsored student, was killed in September but the Russian authorities had just notified the Zambian government of his demise.

“In view of this very sad development, the Zambian government has requested the Russian authorities to urgently provide information on the circumstances under which a Zambian citizen, serving a prison sentence in Moscow, could have been recruited to fight in Ukraine and subsequently lose his life,” Kakubo said.

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Kakubo said the Zambian embassy in Russia had further established that Nyirenda’s body has since been transported to the Russian southern border town of Rostov in readiness for repatriation to Zambia.

“As minister, I have been personally in touch, and will maintain contact with the family of the deceased in order to provide an update on more details surrounding their loved one’s death, once official communication is received from the Russian authorities,” he said.

The circumstances of Nyirenda release from prison are unclear, but Russia has offered freedom to some prisoners in exchange for fighting in its war Ukraine.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Wagner may have recruited as many as 2,000 former prisoners to fight.

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