Mukobeko deaths still a puzzle

Secrecy and mystery still surrounds the death of prisoners at Mukobeko Maximum prison in Kabwe as the Human Rights Commission (HRC) insists that no prisoner died as a result of the reported beatings.

But independent investigations by Muvi TV have shown that a number of people died and there is no explanation why Mukobeko should ferry bodies if they were not from the prison.

The Station has even obtained the names of those killed and in same cases causes of death.

Reports still suggest that over ten prisoners are alleged to have died after they were tortured by 300 recruits when three prisoners on death row escaped from the prison last month.

And the HRC has recommended that the police should investigate the matter further to determine whether the actual causes of deaths were as indicated in the medical reports or otherwise.

Commission spokesperson Samuel Kasankha said it was important that post-mortems were conducted on ALL bodies and if necessary, the exhumation of those already buried should take place in order for the truth to be established and public confidence to be restored.

Mr Kasankha said in a statement that if any foul play was detected, the Police remain the avenue through which the processes of justice could commence.

However, he said the Commission had instituted investigations at the Prisons after reports that 16 people had died after the beatings and its findings indicated that all inmates in the condemned section where the confusion took place were alive and could be accounted for.

He said the inmates confirmed that non of their friends in that section had died.

“Following reports that there were bodies of inmates at Kabwe General Hospital which had been brought in dead and were believed to be those of victims of the beatings, the Commission visited the hospital and found that there were indeed 8 bodies that had been brought in dead from Mukobeko.

“These were brought in on different days including the period before the confusion at the prison and also some that were brought in days after the confusion.  The respective medical reports indicated different illnesses as the causes of death including tuberculosis, body pains, asthma and others.

“None of the deceased were from the area of the prison where the beatings occurred.  The Commission therefore stands by its original findings which were shared with the public,” Mr Kasankha said.

He explained that with respect to public interest surrounding the matter, the Commission has recommended that the police should investigate the matter further to determine whether the actual causes of deaths were as indicated in the medical reports or otherwise.

Mr Kasankha said the nature of investigations was such that new evidence could still emerge even after a case appeared to have been concluded and that the Commission remained available to resurrect interest in the matter should need arise.

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