A sprightly Lilongwe-based young man, Riad Randera, is reported to have died in Brazil apparently after some of the drugs-filled condoms he had swallowed, to evade detection by international law-enforcers, burst.
This is the shocking news the 26-year-old young man’s father, renowned engineer Hannif Randera, his wife and close family members and sympathisers are coming to grips with at their residence in Area 47 Township, near Bwandilo trading area, in Lilongwe.
The unconfirmed news that Riad could have ingested the condoms that later burst in him was given by a social media sympathiser who claimed that the story was making rounds in Brazil and elsewhere. The sympathiser urged the police to curb the illegal trade that is entrapping young people.
The death is the latest glaring example of how the township has apparently turned into a suspected hub of illicit drug-dealing, including in the highly-addictive cocaine, mandrax and pedaphine,
Riad’s shattered parents said that their son, who had attained High School education in England before returning to help his parents to manage a farm in Kasungu some three years ago, seemed innocent, cheerful and a “bundle of energy.”
The parents told Nation Online that they had no prior information that their son had travelled to Brazil. They suspect that he was enticed by some suspected drug peddlers to make the trip abroad either to buy or sell some drugs.
And after the parents became worried that their son had disappeared for some days, without communicating to them of his whereabouts, they were jarred by the shocking news of Riad’s death.
“A wife of a neighbour pitched up at our house, at the odd hour of around 9pm, to summon me to meet her husband at their house. The neighbor is a Nigerian, Alex Ojukwu, who is nicknamed Old Man.
“I had hardly sat in this man’s house before he pointed his forefinger in my face, coldly announcing: ‘Your son is dead in Brazil!.’ I closed myself inside the house and when he could not disclose how my son had died, I called the police,” the father of the deceased said, in a cracking, emotional voice.
Randera stated that police arrested Ojukwu, who up to now has not shared information on how Riad died.
John Benjamin Black Dzuwa, a close relative of the family, said Ojukwu –the last person the parents had seen with Riad in a car that was leaving their premises ten days ago– confessed to having bought Riad an air ticket to Brazil because they youngman wanted to go on a holiday.
“The police must give us Ojukwu’s confession on how Riad’s external contacts and how he died. As it is now, we don’t know where the body is being kept or if there is a body to brick back home at all for burial,” he lamented.
Dzuwa warned that the police should not make the mistake of releasing Ojukwu before the matter is properly investigated and information shared. He did not elaborate.
“But let me be on record that the way some drug dealers have messed up lives of young people in Area 47 with drugs is abhorrent. We understand that several houses in Area 47, and around Bwandilo, have been turned into sex-and-drugs brothels, often with pungent smoke from weed and other drugs oozing all over.
“Where are the police? Why are they not flushing out these dangerous drugs tycoons who are killing our children? Forgive my emotion, please: but if we suspect that some of the police officers, perhaps even government officials in high offices, are party to the illicit deals, could we be wrong?” he charged.
Dzuwa warned that if the police do not take action to flush out the dealers in the dangerous drugs, he will advocate for a vigilante group that will do just that by force.
“Fellow parents, I urge you to monitor your children closely, not only in Area 47 Township but elsewhere in Lilongwe and beyond. You will be surprised to discover that your innocent-looking children have been hooked to drugs or are peddling the drugs to make thousands or millions of Kwacha for themselves,” he added.
Dzuwa said the Randera family has decided to speak out in order to try and prevent more deaths and abuse of the vulnerable youngsters in the country.
Over the past two months, a well-educated Lilongwe-based woman, who had reportedly been using drugs, died in Blantyre. A man was also found dead in a lodge also after ‘shooting’ drugs.
Lilongwe Police Station spokesperson Kingsley Dandaula confirmed yesterday that Ojukwu is in custody. He declined to comment further, saying police investigations are underway.