Pathologist and Police Investigator Testify in Mzimba Human Trafficking Case
State in Mzuzu Thursday October 19th paraded fourth and fifth witnesses in a case related to the discovery of a mass grave of 30 migrants at Mtangatanga forest in Mzimba last year.
The two a police criminal investigations officer for Mzimba police Baxter Mkumbwa and Pathologist Profffesor George Liomba appeared before
Judge Gladys Gondwe where they amongst other things provided evidence that the victims did not die a natural death.
First to testify was Mkumbwa who narrated how he learnt about the mass grave from the people that reported at Mzimba police station, and also tendered in court as evidence some of the items he picked from crime scene as evidence.
“We visited the crime scene and we found bodies in a decomposed state, some half buried in the mass grave. I also picked a few items that were on the scene including pieces of papers containing foreign phone numbers purportedly Ethiopian, bank deposit slip of an Ethiopian bank, an identity card with Arabic scribblings, a wrist watch and aluminum piece of motor vehicle,” he told the court, while also exhibiting the items.
However, during cross-examination the defense team wanted to know if indeed the contacts he saw were of Ethiopia numbers, which Mkumbwa confirmed he verified them using an undisclosed person.
Second witness Dr George Liomba in his testimony said he conducted an autopsy on 30 dead bodies that were in a decomposed state and infested with magots.
He told the court that the bodies had similar traits as they were all tall, slim, male adults between the ages of 25-45, and that 27 of the bodies wore dark trousers, while some only had no shirts.
The court was sent in chills when part of the report was telecasted showing pictures of dead bodies and part of the tissue that was examined to prove death was due to suffocation with Carbon Monoxide as a contributing factor.
“After examining the bodies we established there was no organ disease and no evidence of physical trauma. With the presence of magots we determined the bodies must have been in the forest for three to five days,” said Liomba
He however, said an autopsy conducted on internal organs of the five of the dead bodies revealed cherry red tissue which he said indicates presence of carbon monoxide.
He said they concluded the people did not die a natural death but death was due to suffocation with carbon monoxide.
A heated and interesting cross-examination ensued when defence lawyer Kolezi Phiri quizzed Liomba to clarify how he thinks organs can only turn cherry as a result of carbon monoxide infestation, but Liomba refused to conduct a medical lecture in court and referred the defence to google.
Judge Gladys Gondwe has since set November 27th to 30th November for continuation of trial, where defence will continue to parade more of its 14 witnesses.
Those answering the charges are Tadikila mafudza, Samuel Navaya, David Luhanga, Thomas Kazembe, Duncan Kalulu, Boniface Ngulube, Aubrey Dukes and Arnold Mwakiyelu