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The Lusaka Strangler Files - Revisited
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The Lusaka Strangler Files - Revisited

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This is a re-typed document from a photocopy of the Zambia Police's “NKHWAZI” Magazine of 1980. It has been prompted by the recent crimes of similar nature occurring in the country, especially in......

This is a re-typed document from a photocopy of the Zambia Police's “NKHWAZI” Magazine of 1980. It has been prompted by the recent crimes of similar nature occurring in the country, especially in Lusaka

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  • 1. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 The Lusaka Strangler Files 214-day search for the killer By Nnawa Kwaleyela and Max Ekheni (NOTE: This document was re-typed from a photocopy of the “NKHWAZI” Police Magazine of 1980 by Henry Nasilele in April 2013) DURING the first nine months of 1980. Lusaka was terrorised by an elusive villain who was soon dubbed by the news media as the “Lusaka Strangler". From incidents of gruesome deaths ascribed to him, the Strangler seduced young women in the evenings from such places as the former Kamwala Inter-City Bus terminal, the railway station or other public places and led them to some dark alleys to rape and kill them mainly by strangulation. The victims were often stranded visitors to the Capital or those in transit. In all, 31 young women fell victim of the strangler, 29 of which were murdered outright while two escaped death by miracle to help the police later in their investigations. ln what the police code- named “Operation Rosemary" the search for the murderers took them 214 days from January 5 the day they received a report of the first victim to the capture of the principal strangler suspect. The investigations, however, came to an abrupt end; the suspected strangler never saw the inside of a court of law. He took his own life some 76 hours from the time he was apprehended. Inevitably the grotesque case of the Lusaka strangler has to this day left many questions unanswered. It is seldom that a story such as this one is told without being labelled `chronique scandaleuse` meant to smear at the characters in the drama and expose them to ill-repute. Far from it. The writers of this article pledge necessity arising out of national interest to bring to light the events that led to the capture of one of Zambia‘s most sinister criminals and expose the heroic acts of 'Zambians who died, and those who survived from the fiend’s hands to tell the story. Further, as what follow is based on the official police dossiers on the Lusaka Strangler it should save to alert those who could fall victims of similar criminal machinations from sacrificing their personal security. As world records of homicide stood by 1979, not many Zambians would have thought that the malevolence of the Boston Strangler of the United States or Jack the Ripper of Britain could ever be equalled in Zambia or indeed that any Zambian could have a lust for murder in such a cold blooded manner as the Lusaka Strangler. An anonymous telephone call on January 5, 1980 signalled the Lusaka Central Police to the incidents that were to follow during this unhappy year. The message was to the effect that a body of a dead woman was lying in the play field behind Lusaka Boys Primary School. When police officers who were led by inspector Gondwe visited the scene they found the body in a` semi-decomposed state. As a result it was not possible to specify the cause of death. But they were able to reason that the woman was killed elsewhere and the body dumped on the play field. However, from the effects which were scattered around the body the police managed to identify
  • 2. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 the woman as Miss Grace Siambilu aged 21 years. Further investigations revealed that she had travelled from Sinazongwe on January 2 and dropped off a north-bound train at Lusaka railway station on or about January 4 to deliver a letter to her brother working for Namboard. The following day she was to proceed to Kitwe where she was to attend interviews at the Zambia Institute of Technology. She never did. The Police investigations failed to trace the murderers at the time. On January 6, Woodlands Police Station received a similar report to the one received by Lusaka Central a day before. A body of a dead woman was found lying by a foot path off Chitukuko Road. After examining the body police established that the woman was first raped and then strangled at that same place There were marks of violence on an area six metres in radius evidenced by scattered beads ripped from the woman’s waist and a torn knickers found four metres from the body. Bruises were also noted on the woman’s body especially on the sides of the neck and on the navel while blood and what looked like foam oozed from her mouth and nose. Efforts to get the woman identified failed. Police investigations again offered no leads to who the- murderers could be. And so the nights of terror had begun for Lusaka. Similar murders were reported to the police in succession. (See “Briefs on Strangler victims” on facing page). There were six in January, five each in February and March, three in April, two in May, three in June, and two each in July and September. There were also one each attempted murder in July and September. Puzzled Lusaka detectives got busy. Known hoodlums in Lusaka and those who were believed to have had contacts with the victims immediately before the at met their fate were interrogated by the police. But these efforts and other police investigations always reached a dead end. However, the murder of Miss Clodia Maimbolwa on January 30, would have probably given a lead to the capture of the culprits had police not over looked evidence offered by a security guard from Premium House during their handling of the cases. Former Commissioner of Police Mubuka Sinyinda who was then in-charge of the C.l.D. at the Force Headquarters chided the police on this and wrote to the Lusaka Division asking why “there was no explanation nor a statement recorded from the Zambia State Insurance Security guard (Mr Paul Mutale) who had seen the girl in the company of a soldier at mid-night walking towards Nasser Road from the railway station before she was found dead in the morning.
  • 3. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 BRIEFS ON THE STRANGLER VICTIMS -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jan 5: Grace Shambilu, 21. Semi-decomposed body found at Lusaka Boys Primary School football ground. She was allegedly killed elsewhere before the body was dumped at the football ground. She came from Sinazongwe and was in transit to Kitwe by train, cause of death not determined. Jan 6: Unidentified female, aged about 21. Body found along a path near Chitukuko Road, Woodlands. She was allegedly raped and strangled where body was found. Jan 12: Florence Mwangelwa Mulima, 21. Body found behind NIPA offices. Victim allegedly raped and murdered where body was found. She had travelled by train from Mazabuka to Lusaka. She was doing Form lll. Jan 14: Priscilla Ndhlovu 10. Body found in a maize field between Olympia Park and Northmead. She was sent to buy, some groceries by her parents to buy some groceries before she allegedly met her death by strangulation. Jan 28: Regina Munanga, 25. Body found between UNZA campus and Show Grounds. She was allegedly raped and strangled where body was found. A woman police officer, in transit from Livingstone to Mufulira, on official duties. She came by train. Jan 30: Clodia Maimbolwa 21. Body found at Freedom Statute near Nasser Road. She was allegedly strangled where body was found. She was in transit from Choma to Senanga, she came by train. Last seen in company of a soldier. Feb 7: Millian Chipeta 20. Body found in a maize field between City Airport and Longacres. She was allegedly strangled with a scarf where body was found. She came from Kitwe to Lusaka by bus. Feb 10: Unidentified Woman aged about 18 to 21. Body found along Washama Road, Villa Elizabetha. She was raped and strangled elsewhere before body was dumped at Villa Elizabetha. Feb 11: Fosta Kaela. 10 Body found in a maize field between Kalingalinga and City Airport. Victim was allegedly strangled by a man who left boot footmarks. She was coming from Lusaka Girls Primary School. Feb 17: Grace Mutondo, 26. Body found at Lukunga Football pitch behind Inter-Continental Hotel. She was allegedly raped and strangled. Known to have come from a disco at the hotel. Feb 25: Fridah Ncube, 32. Body found lying near Maxwell House hostels next to Lusaka Girls Primary School. She came from Choma in transit to Zimbabwe. Footprints found on the path indicated she was allegedly picked from Inter-Continental Hotel before she was strangled. March 13: Jane Malako, 18. Body found along a footpath near Chitukuko Road, Woodlands. She was a student travelling from Livingstone to Senanga via Lusaka. Victim was allegedly strangled after being picked from Kamwala bus station.
  • 4. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 March 13: Hilda Banda, 18. Body found at Kamwala Secondary School playfield. She was allegedly strangled with her belt. She was last reported to have gone to Lusaka Hotel. March 15: Agather Musa Nasilele aged about 18. Body found along a foot path near the Show Grounds. She was a Form III student travelling from Magoye to Western Province via Lusaka. She was allegedly raped and strangled. March 23: Emeldah Monde Chabazwa, 26. Body found lying in bush near Chitukuko Road, Woodlands. She was a student travelling from Mongu to Monze via Lusaka. She was allegedly raped and strangled and before body was dumped near Chitukuko Road. March 25: Miriam Chiwala, 15. Body found between Duly Motors and Chibolya compound. She was allegedly raped and strangled. A cardboard message found near the body had the message: “Nothing to say guys and don’t mind all what I told you when you were going for elections. Comrades no woman now. Please my friend be careful how you walk, yours no woman now.” April 4: Maggie Mwanza, 21. Body found along a footpath near junction of Lubu Road and Chisekela Road, Longacres. Allegedly dumped here after being raped and strangled. She had travelled from Kabwe to Lusaka April 7: Regina Mumba, 25. Body found behind Ndeke House near City Airport. She was allegedly strangled. A student nurse at Katete, she was in transit from Kitwe after a holiday. May 4: Unidentified young woman. Body found at the gate of Woodlands Stadium where she was allegedly raped and strangled. May 14: Kwaleyela Situmbeko, 24. Body found along foot path joining Kafue Road near Crushed Stone Sales Ltd. and John Laing compound. A student at Kitwe Teacher Training College was from holiday in Senanga via Lusaka. She was allegedly raped and strangled. June 10: Rosemary Mufula Chuma, 24. A resident of Chawama compound. Body found in the bushes near Namboard opposite Lenco. Allegedly picked from a roadside where she used to sell milk. She was raped and killed before dumped near Namboard. An open wound was found on her forehead. June 16: Lita Mabango, 18. Body found hanged by the neck against NIPA fence with four stab wounds on the chest. She was four months pregnant and used to work for Steak House. She was allegedly strangled. June 30: Jenny Mwitila Pumulo, 20. Body found near Kabwata Primary School. A student of Monze Agricultural College, she was in transit from Mongu to Pemba. She was allegedly raped and strangled. July 16: Norah Soko, 19. She survived the attack by the strangler. She had travelled from Kitwe to Lusaka. She was picked by the strangler from Kamwala bus station and taken to a foot path leading to Kalingalinga near Municipal Sports Club where she was found lying and screaming in agony. June 21: Agness Mwelwa aged about 22. Body found lying in the bush near Libala Secondary School. She had travelled from Kitwe to Lusaka. She was allegedly strangled with a piece of cloth found round her neck.
  • 5. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 Sept 12: Mary Chisanga. Body found near Chisekela road between Municipal Sports Club and Central Sports Club with her umbilical mutilated and intestines protruding out. She was allegedly picked from railway station where she had escorted her boyfriend who was going to Kabwe. Sept 17: Josephine Nora Mukatasha. Second victim to survive strangler’s attack. She was in transit from Chingola to Mumbwa when she was picked from Kamwala bus station. She was left for dead after being attacked near Kamwala Secondary School. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A murder victim left dead by the Strangler By the end of January after the police had picked up six dead bodies of young women, they were able to at least establish that the murders were the work of a homicidal maniac or a gang of such maniacs who lured girls coming into Lusaka from other towns, raped them then murdered them. Usually the fiend committed his sinister acts in places which had sufficient cover, such as bushy areas and then dumped the victims onto a foot path or some open space for everybody to see. As the murders became more and more daring the public became more concerned, with the press leading the campaign calling for the police to intensify its search for the strangler. The press even suggested that the Government bring in police officers from Britain’s New Scotland Yard and G.D.R’s Bundeskriminalamt. crack European investigation departments, to come and reinforce the Zambian C.I.D. The Party and its Government, however, felt this would be too costly a venture. Besides Zambia being a sovereign state, it was the government’s duty to solve an internal problem such as this one. Meanwhile the police launched a campaign through advertising in the news media and by posters in
  • 6. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 which they advised women travelling to Lusaka to be wary of strange men offering them lifts or escorts. A reward of K10, 000 was offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the murderers of young women in the City. The Government slapped a dusk to dawn curfew restricting the movement of people in Lusaka. The moves, however, did not stop the killers from luring women to their deaths. By June 16, the number of those killed had soared to 23 with the gruesome murder of I8, year old Miss Lita Mabango who had been strangled and crudely hanged from the fence which surrounds NIPA. Because of the gravity of the situation the Police Force had by then drawn top-notch officers from all over the country to form a temporary homicide squad known as Special Investigation Team (SIT). It was headed by Supt. William Mundia who was then D.C.l.O. - Southern. Recalling the engagement of this team in an interview, Mr Mundia who is now Senior Superintendent said apart from wanting to quickly trace and capture the strangler, the first task of SIT was to determine whether the strangler was one person or a gang of men with the same motive. But since the method used in the murders, were similar in all cases, “we soon concluded that the killer was most likely one person.” The common features found on the victims included visible strangulation marks on the bodies, ripped pants and mucus or foam oozing from the nose which indicated that the killer could have also been using some chemicals, Mr Mundia said. He added, “SIT also wished to determine the motive behind the murders. But we couldn’t come to any firm conclusion on this because at the time we nearly touched the point the suspected strangler vanished by committing suicide.” However as soon as SIT established the strangler’s modus operandi, the detectives closed up on the target areas of the killer’s operations. On July 16, Detective Constable Chikoti was among some members of SIT who were deplored to carry out surveillance at Kamwala bus station when from about 19.30 hours he saw a soldier dressed in combat speaking for a long time to a young woman who was dressed in a green dress with white stripes. Getting somewhat suspicious he took in their descriptions and noted that the man had some traditional marks on his face, he was beardless, slightly short and stout. The woman was brown, tall and slim with a lot of hair. After half an hour the couple left the bus stop going towards old Kamwala and disappeared into the night. The following day he learnt that a woman answering to the description-of the one he saw the previous night had narrowly escaped death from the Lusaka strangler. That’s how close he was to become a hero had he picked that soldier. The woman in this case was Miss Nora Soko of Chimwemwe Township, Kitwe. In her report tog the police she said she had travelled to Lusaka to see her parents who were living in Makeni. She arrived at Kamwala bus terminus when it was already getting dark and as she was indeed at that time apprehensive about the now notorious Lusaka strangler she decided against proceeding to Makeni that evening.
  • 7. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 However, soon afterwards two soldiers, one wearing combat and the other a green uniform approached her. The latter soldier left after a while but the one in combat uniform offered to escort her to Makeni. Miss Soko declined the offer. “After which he brushed shoulders with me and picked up my basket containing my property and headed towards Gandhi Road and then Independence Avenue,” Miss Soko told the police adding, when I saw that, I followed him in order to retrieve it, but he was walking too fast... (we reached) a place which looked like a Club where some whites were drinking beer l refused to go inside with him, "I could have gone back, but all the time I was thinking of my national registration card and my property." According to her statement, the soldier later led her along a small bush path. He had introduced himself as Lieutenant Nyambe and now asked her whether she could identify him in civilian clothes or in uniform, to which she replied in the affirmative. Puzzled Lusaka Police got busy as more and more murder reports of young women poured in. “On hearing this” Miss Soko said “he got hold of me by the shoulders and forced me down. He started squeezing my neck. I managed to kick him off me. In turn he produced something which looked like a shifting spanner and hit me on my navel while saying "you are the only girl whom. I have failed to kill; I have killed the rest so you are the one who will cause me to be arrested. “ ‘‘‘He again hit me severely on the navel and that was the last thing I remembered." Miss Soko told the police.
  • 8. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 Three security guards on duty at Lukasu Flats near Olympia Swimming Pool heard screams of a woman coming from the bush somewhere near Lusaka Municipal Club. They rushed towards the direction while blowing their whistles. This probably saved Miss Soko’s life. They found the woman lying in a bush near a path which leads to Kalingalinga still screaming. The security guards Mr Alfred Banda, Mr Vivian Lufutika and a Mr Mwale later told the police that they could not get much out of the woman apart from her name and where she came from as she continued crying and screaming. “We realised that she was in great pain and thus carried her to Lukasu Flats and then rushed to the nearby Inter-Continental Hotel to seek transport to bring her to the police station." their report read. The police then took Miss Soko to UTH. Dr Jerome Ng’ombe who examined her established that she had bruises on her abdomen around the umbilicus caused by an instrument in a form of a machine. She also had scratches of fingernails on the sides her neck. In addition sores were developing on her tongue caused by some poisonous substance like drugs. Miss Soko told the police that she was sure of identifying her assailant anywhere in the world. She therefore became a very important person in the Operation Rosemary. To ensure that she would not be challenged as to the soundness of her mind she was placed in Chainama hospital for a check- up. At this point in time Supt. Mundia of SIT observed in a report that the police were now in a position to narrow the field of people to look for because Miss Soko's account collaborated with Mr Paul Mutale’s statement regarding Miss Clodia Maimbolwa who was murdered on January 30. The police were dealing with murderers or a killer who "as either an army officer or one who was using an army uniform to avoid detection. Another card which re-enforced pol ice confidence in getting closer in getting closer to the killer came their way early in September. One Mrs Josephine Nora Mukatasha left her Chingola home on 7th September. She was travelling to Mumbwa via Lusaka. When the bus reached Kitwe she became acquainted with a girl travelling to Petauke. Their bus arrived in Lusaka at 20.15 hours. Since there were no buses scheduled to either of the women’s destinations that evening, they decided to spend the night at the bus terminus until the following morning. However, a short while later the two women were approached by two soldier s wearing combat uniforms and authoritatively asked them where they came from and where they were going to. The soldiers then asked them to produce their national registration cards which they did accordingly hoping they would be left in peace. But it was not to be. The soldiers instead requested the two women to accompany them to a nearby rest house at which they would book rooms for them and spend the night in comfort. The women politely declined.
  • 9. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 After being rebuked in this manner the soldiers grabbed a paper box and a hand bag belonging to the Petauke bound girl (who is not identified up to date and whether she is still living or dead is not known). The soldiers started heading towards new Kamwala. Seeing that her property was grabbed from her the girl followed them in pursuit of her luggage. Mrs Mukatasha did not follow. But then one of the soldiers came back a while later and started to persuading Mrs Mukatasha With an oiled tongue that she as being difficult for nothing whereas her friend was already comfortably sleeping at the rest house. She finally obliged to go with the soldier. He picked her suitcase and she followed behind him. Before proceeding to the so called rest house, the soldier went to a kiosk situated at the bus station and bought two Fanta orange one for Mrs Mukatasha and the other for her daughter who was strapped at her bag. After which they headed towards Kamwala Secondary School walking side by side. After about 30 minutes they branched into a narrow path then Mrs Mukatasha asked him where they were going. The soldier simply pointed in the direction in which some lights appeared. "I decided to position my child properly when suddenly the soldier darted behind me and grabbed me by the neck and squeezed it until I passed out. "Sometime later by God's providence I regained consciousness and note that my child was lying beside me crying. My national registration card which was in my suitcase was placed near my head. But the suitcase was gone…."she later told the police. The wrist watch which she was wearing earlier as well as her wedding Ring were also stolen. Total value of property stolen from her amounted to K442.98. With the shock of realising how close she had been to death she started vomiting after which she strapped her child on her back and staggered towards some houses. She reached house number 61 on Malata Road, Madras and knocked at the door calling for help. Supt. William Mundia then DCIO Southern headed SIT which probed the murders. Mr Peter Mwaba the owner of the house opened the door for her and in spite of her dishelved appearance admitted her in. When the Mwaba family heard her story they provided her with a bed to rest, for it well past 02:30 hours.
  • 10. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 When on the morning of September 8 police received this information telephones got busy. All members of SIT and other detectives were alerted to pick any soldier who be found loitering at the railway and bus stations. It was just a matter of time they reasoned before the murderers would be arrested. The police had no doubt now of the fact that the stranglers were either active members of the Zambia Army or men using the army uniforms and that they operated in twos as indicated in the report of the two women who survived attacks upon them. And one thing was certain both Miss Soko and Mrs Mukatasha were attacked by the same person by the same person since descriptions to the police in respect to the assailants tallied. After continuous police, surveillance of various target areas, the police finally netted the quarry. On September 16, one month after Miss Soko was narrowly done in, Detective Sergeant ChiIinga went to Kamwala bus station with Mrs Mukatasha, so that she could walk aimlessly and if she saw the man who nearly killed her she was to inform the police officer who would be handy nearby. At 19:30 hours, Mrs Mukatasha was greeted by a man in army combat in army combat uniform with the words "I happen to have seen you somewhere!" Immediately she recognised her as the villain who nearly killed her. "I was pretty certain that he was the same man who nearly killed me. I did not panic. Instead I cheated him that I have never met him before and that I had just arrived from Chingola. After I told him this, he asked me if I could accompany him to a rest house where he was to book a room for me” "I agreed but I asked him to wait for me so that I could go and collect my luggage. Instead I alerted the police officers I was with. Besides my positive identification of the villain , he wore the wrist watch which he had stolen from me when he thought I was dead '' she told the police. The soldier was approached and when the police officers asked him to accompany them to the Lusaka Central Police Station, he put up some resistance, but he was finally subdued apprehended. He was identified as Milton Mufungulwa Sipalo of House No. 23 Arakan Barracks, Lusaka. On September 17, with his permission, police raided his house in Arakan Barracks and searched it. A number of items were seized and taken to Lusaka Police Station. Mrs Mukatasha identified her property from among these items.' When Sipalo was confronted with this evidence linking him to various murders of women in Lusaka, he is reported to have parried his first warn and caution statement. His story was that he had proposed love to the woman and took her home and when he discovered that she had an operation on her abdomen he did not make love to her. In the morning according to Sipalo, the woman left to take her child to the hospital leaving behind her luggage and never and never went back for it. This aversion from Sipalo to avoid telling the truth did not worry the investigators. On September 18 an identification parade was mounted outside Lusaka Central on which Sipalo and another soldier
  • 11. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 who was implicated by him in the murders was present. This other suspect was Kenneth Kaluwe also from Arakan Barracks. Victims’ bodies were often left dumped in open spaces for everyone to see. Three police witnesses, Miss Nora Soko, Mrs Josephine Nora Mukatasha and Miss Joyce Mwape identified Sipalo. None of them pointed a finger at Kaluwe. The first two had actually survived attacks upon their persons while Miss Mwape who worked as a sales lady at Kamwala bus station kiosk had merely been approached on two occasions by Sipalo proposing love to her. But she had rejected him on the pretext that she was married. She had later told the police that she was able to identify the soldier. When police confronted Sipalo with the fact that three witnesses had positively identified him, he admitted in a warn and caution statement that “if they can pick me from the line of others, then I am the one who tried to kill them.” The same afternoon at 16: 35 hours, Sipalo led a team of officers including the SIT chief, Supt. Mundia to various spots in Lusaka where he allegedly killed some of his victims by way of strangulation. He first led them to a spot between Kafue Road and John Laing compound where he alleged that together with Kaluwe they had killed and dumped the body of Kwaleyela Situmbeko. Secondly he led SIT officers to another spot between Impala Filling Station and a Thornpark grocery, where an unidentified body of a woman was picked. He also told the officers that he was in the company of Kaluwe when they killed the woman on February 10, 1980. He again led them to Kamwala Secondary School football ground and pointed at the spot where he said together with Kaluwe they had dumped the body of a woman (Hilda Banda) they killed on March 13, 1980. But Sipalo’s alleged accomplice Kaluwe refused having had anything to do with Sipalo in any of these murders. When SIT officers searched the homes of the two suspects, they found from Sipalo’s house a number of items belonging to nine of the victims – Regina Munanga, Maggie Mwanza, Mary Chisanga, Rosemary Mufulachuma, Fridah Ncube, Regina Mumba, Miriam Mwale, Millian Chipeta and Agness
  • 12. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 Christine Mwelasa. The items were identified by the victims ‘relatives. Police also found in Sipalo’s house property belonging to two survivors, Miss Soko and Mrs Mukatasha. Nothing was found from Kaluwe’s house that belonged to the murdered women or to the two survivors. However, when he was reported to have given a pair of white bed sheets and blanket to his mother in Mongu police seized these, but they too were no identified as stolen property. And when later investigations revealed nothing to hold Kaluwe for, he was released from custody. Sipalo being identified on parade by Miss Nora Soko. But the tragedies which began with the cold blooded murder of a young woman in January 1980 also ended in self-inflicted capital punishment nine months later. On September 19 at around midday Sipalo ran away from the hands of the late Assistant Superintendent Fufu and managed to get to the top of the Lusaka Central Police Station – to plunge to his death on the ground below. At this time as already indicated, SIT was trying to get to the motive behind the Strangler’s killings. Sipalo’s sudden death robbed the investigators of this opportunity. But as Senior Supt. Mundia explained. “Sipalo admitted committing these crimes in addition to overwhelming evidence against him. And what is certain is that he stole from his victims.” He added, “Maybe the motive was stealing and raping. But then, why didn’t he steal from men as well? And why did he go for young women between the ages of ten and 26?” Yes why indeed? And as noted earlier, the Strangler’s practice was to place bodies of his victims in open spaces for everybody to see. In addition, after stealing some of the victims’ items of interest such as shoes, watches and money, the rest of the victims’ goods were usually scattered about the bodies including identity cards. It would appear that by his overture the Strangler was bent on advertising his dastardly acts. One wonders what the motive behind this publicity following the killings was for. Both the two survivors have testified that in their own cases their assailants had first approached them together with another man person clad in military uniform. So, was the Lusaka Strangler saga a really a one man show? We may never know.
  • 13. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 Sipalo slipped to the Police Station’s roof top to jump to his death. [Photo by Times of Zambia] .
  • 14. NKHWAZI MAGAZINE 1980 Re-typed and compiled from a Photocopy by Henry Nasilele 2013 '