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Save Africans-Ukraine calls for independent UN investigation in the death of Zambian in the Russia Ukraine war

The Save Africans-Ukraine has called for an independent United Nations – UN investigation into the death of a 23 years old Zambian student on the battlefield in the Russia Ukraine war.

The Save Africans-Ukraine has learned with great dismay of the death of an African student from Zambia in combat in Ukraine, Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, who was serving a prison sentence on the outskirts of Moscow in Russia, and died on September 22, 2022 in Ukraine, according to a Zambian government statement, and the authorities in that country say they have asked Moscow for an explanation of the circumstances of his death.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Save Africans-Ukraine, Coordinator Etonam Ahianyo strongly condemning the death of Lemekhani Nyirenda, a nuclear engineering student on a battlefield in Ukraine, the organisation has urged the UN to launch an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this tragedy.

“Among the many issues we are concerned about, we are particularly interested in knowing how the student who was supposed to be in custody in Russia ended up in Ukraine and how he died there,” Etonam Ahianyo said

The Coordinator disclosed that the Save Africans-Ukraine has also asked the UN to commission a report that will take stock of the situation of African and third country nationals in Ukraine and Russia, as they would like to know whether Africans are being forcibly recruited to fight, or whether any are trapped in war zones or detained in prisons in both countries during the conflict.

Etonam Ahianyo added that the UN organisation confirmed on November 17, 2022 that it had received the request for an investigation from Save Africans-Ukraine, and it is therefore important for them that the UN expedites its investigations with the Russian and Ukrainian parties in order to establish responsibility so that this death does not go unpunished.

Additionally, in a separate letter, the Save Africans-Ukraine called on the Russian and Ukrainian Presidents to cooperate fully with the investigations to establish the truth.

“We have also called on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to use their power to ensure the safety and integrity of all African and third country nationals on their respective soil and in areas under the control of their forces,” Etonam Ahianyo stated

The Save Africans-Ukraine is an initiative of the Swiss-based association “Causes Oubliées/Forgotten Causes”, which assists Africans and other non-Ukrainian nationals fleeing war and defends their interests throughout Europe.

On 22nd September, 2022, A 23-year-old Zambian student in Russia died in Ukraine at the battle front of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda, a government sponsored nuclear engineering student was in 2020 arrested and convicted to nine years by the Russian court after he was found guilty of trafficking in narcotics substances.

Lemekhani Nyirenda worked for a courier company on part-time basis in Russia and whilst ferrying some parcels, he was searched by the law enforcement officers who found narcotics in his custody and was consequently slapped with a prison sentence out of which he served 2years six months as at the time of his death.

Lemekhani Nyirenda who died on 2nd September, 2022 while the Zambian government in Moscow was only notified about his death on 9th November, 2022 and his family has since been informed while his remains have been repatriated to Russia in readiness for further repatriation to Zambia.

Foreign Affairs and International cooperation Minister Stanley Kakubo told Journalists at a media briefing that the government has since written to the Russian government demanding explanation on how a Zambian serving a jail sentence in that country found himself at the battlefront in the Russia Ukraine war.