- Apam says autopsy results show that Lule was electrocuted, hammered!
The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) has said preliminary findings of an autopsy for the late Buleya Lule, a key suspect in the abduction of a 14-year old albino boy Goodson Makanjira in Dedza, have revealed that he was electrocuted, then hit with metal bars.
While a highly placed source has corroborated Apam’s claims and confirmed the preliminary findings, but spoke on condition of anonymity because the report is not yet out, State agencies the police and Malawi Human Rights Commission have dismissed the claim, saying they will only comment after the release of the final results.
According to Apam president Overstone Kondowe, quoting an oral report of preliminary results from pathologists who include Dr. Charles Dzamalala, Lule was electrocuted and hit on the head with some metal bars.
“We had the Malawi Human Rights Commission [MHRC], family members and the police when the preliminary findings were shared. This is an oral report shared to interested parties.
It was concluded that the late Lule was killed. They singled out the main cause as electrocution and there was also bleeding inside the brain because of pressure from a cylindrical bar which was used on his head,” he said.
The Apam president further said they were told that the other observations from the autopsy will go to South Africa for further analysis.
He blamed the police as responsible for Lule’s death, saying it was shocking that two suspects connected to abduction of people with albinism have died in just a month.
Another suspect in the abduction of an 18-month baby with albinism Eunice Nkhonjera, Donald Msafiri, 61, allegedly committed suicide a day after being interrogated by police in Karonga.
In a telephone interview yesterday, MHRC executive secretary David Nungu dismissed reports about the preliminary findings, saying as far as they are concerned results from the autopsy are not yet out.
Nungu said MHRC commissioned Dzamalala to do the autopsy and is yet to share any findings with them.
Put to him that Apam has shared the results, Nungu insisted that the pathologists have no right to share the findings to anyone but the commission.
“We engaged the pathologist [Dzamalala] to do the post-mortem. We are a client; we have not been communicated to in terms of any preliminary results; hence, we cannot comment on what is circulating on social media.
“There are procedures in terms of how results are shared. The pathologist will share with us first because we commissioned him to do it for us for a particular purpose and once we get the results we will share with you,” said Nungu who did not completely dismiss the preliminary results from Apam, but emphasised more on procedure.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa, in an interview with Nation on Sunday also said an initial report on the cause of Lule’s death showed that it was hypertension and that a second autopsy was commissioned because some quarters were not convinced of the first report.
Mwapasa said police are yet to receive official results from the second autopsy.
He said once the results are out, the Inspector General of Police [Rodney Jose] will commission an investigation to establish what happened.
While describing it as unfortunate, he indicated that it was not unusual for a suspect to die in police custody.
“It is very bad for someone to die in police custody, that is why we want to establish the truth as to what caused the death. We are waiting for the results to start our investigation,” said Mwapasa.
But a well-placed source familiar with the autopsy validated the information shared by Apam, saying so far that’s what the preliminary findings have shown.
“Whatever Apam has shared with you is true. These are indeed preliminary results which are shared with interested parties. But the full report will be out in about two weeks’ time,” said the source.
Commenting on the issue, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Timothy Mtambo described the incident as an indication of how the State has become a suspect in the syndicate.
He claimed the killing of people with albinism is a result of a leadership crisis facing the country.
“This madness is happening because of leadership failure from the Commander-in-Chief, Inspector General of Police and the Minister responsible for Homeland Security. This government is a big failure and we will hold them
accountable, no matter what,” Mtambo explained.
But Mwapasa said the attacks on people with albinism require collective responsibility between the police and the public.
He said police are doing an inhouse check to verify speculations that some officers were involved in the killing of people with albinism.
The late suspect was alleged to have offered K800 000 to buy Goodson, who is still missing in Dedza.
Lule has become a third suspect to die while on trial related to abduction of persons with albinism since 2015. All the three cases have the police involved. In 2015, another suspect charged in connection with abduction of a two–year girl with albinism in Machinga died in the hands of the police after he allegedly jumped from a cruising police vehicle.
There is a strong public feeling that
Amnesty International (AI) has since taken a swipe at Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi for insinuating that attacks on persons with albinism (PWA) were not yet at crisis levels.
AI, a global movement of more than seven million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights, said in a statement Thursday that the “shameful denial comments” are fuelling attacks against PWA.
During a news conference in Lilongwe on Tuesday, Dausi is on record to have said that the attacks on persons with albinism were yet to get to levels where they should hold vigils at State House or seek asylum in other countries.
In the Thursday statement, AI deputy director for Southern Africa Muleya
Mwananyanda said remarks by Dausi will only embolden those perpetrating the assaults and are a disturbing reminder of the government’s inaction on the issue.
She said: “The latest comments from Minister Nicholas Dausi are yet another indication that persons with albinism in Malawi are on their own when it comes to their safety and security.”
Mwananyanda has since urged government to promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate the recent attacks against persons with albinism and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.
National Police Service spokesperson James Kadadzera confirmed the death of the 61-year-old, adding that medical examination showed death was due to suffocation.
He could neither confirm the alleged suicide note nor comment on the matter but he indicated that Msafiri was called for questioning and was later reported dead.
Asked if the death would affect investigations into the Dedza case, Kadadzera said the incident will not affect the investigations, but to date, police have not stated any hints on the case, nor have they found the missing boy.
In the Andiwotchi case, police told the media in March 2015 that the 19-year-old man died after smashing his head on the tarmac road when he jumped off a moving police vehicle.
The suspect jumped from the vehicle on their way to Zomba Resident Magistrate’s Court to take plea. A post-mortem conducted at Machinga District Hospital indicated the suspect died due to internal bleeding and head injuries.
Andiwotchi and his two brothers, who allegedly escaped to Mozambique, abducted the two-year-old albino girl at Muluku Village in the area of sub-Traditional Authority Mchinguza in Machinga.
A statement signed by HRDC chairperson Timothy Mtambo, said these deaths [of key suspects] smack of foul-play, adding, it is too tempting to conclude that there are powerful forces orchestrating them.
Mtambo said the death of Lule is too loud a tell-tale of how unprofessional and rotten the police system is.
“Firstly, we strongly believe that these deaths are mafia-like planned and executed just to frustrate investigations that would lead us to alleged markets and lords behind these heinous crimes.
“Secondly, we at HRDC and indeed all well-meaning Malawians are tempted to think that those that we have entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the perpetrators of these inhumane acts are deliberately failing to do their job,” reads the statement.