Zambian student imprisoned in Russia killed in Ukraine battle, foreign ministry says

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A Zambian student, jailed in Russia was killed during a battle in Ukraine, Zambia’s foreign ministry said Monday.

The student was a 23-year-old student the Zambian government had sponsored to study nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute.

The man was identified as Lemekhani Nathan Nyirenda by Zambia’s Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo in a statement.

Nyirenda was convicted in 2020 of unspecified crimes in Russia and sent to prison for nine years and six months. He was serving his sentence at the Tyer Medium Security Prison on the outskirts of Moscow,” according to the statement.

The Zambian foreign ministry said it was informed of his death “on 9th November 2022… at the battlefront of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”

The ministry said it had urgent questions for Moscow about how the Zambian ended up fighting for Moscow.

Hundreds of inmates were believed to be approached in Russian jails as Moscow raced to bolster its troops, which have suffered heavy casualties since the war began.

It remains unclear how many Africans have been enlisted into the Russian army since its months-long invasion of Ukraine.

The ministry says the remains of the man were transported to the Russian town of Rostov-on-Don to be repatriated to Zambia.

Agencies

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