• World - Africa
  • Updated: November 14, 2022

23-Year-Old Zambian Student Serving Prison Term In Russia Found Dead

A 23-year-old Zambian student who was convicted in Russia and serving a prison sentence on the outskirts of Moscow has been found dead in combat in Ukraine, the Zambian government said on Monday, demanding an explanation from Russia.

Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda died on 22 September 22, 2022, in Ukraine, according to Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo in a statement.

He added that Nyirenda met his end on the frontline of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Zambia claimed that it had contacted Russia for an explanation of the circumstances in which a citizen of Zambia, who is incarcerated in Moscow serving a prison term, might have been recruited to fight in Ukraine and lost his life.

Ukraine accuses Russian tycoon and leader of the paramilitary outfit Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is rumoured to be close to Vladimir Putin, of dispatching thousands of warriors to the front in return for a salary and an amnesty.

Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda had been convicted of breaking Russian law in April 2020, according to the Zambian government, which did not give further details.

The student of nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI), had been sentenced to nine years and six months in prison. He was serving his sentence in a medium-security prison on the outskirts of Moscow.

The Zambian Foreign Minister said he was "deeply saddened by the untimely death of Mr Nyirenda in such circumstances", adding that his remains had been taken to the Russian border town of Rostov for repatriation.

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