Zambian student who died fighting for Russia buried in Ukraine | CNN



The Zambian student who died fighting in Ukraine was buried in a private ceremony in his home country on Wednesday, a family spokesperson told CNN.

Lemekani Nathan Nyirenda died last September on the frontline of the war in Ukraine while fighting for the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

His family representative Dr Ian Banda spoke to CNN Wednesday morning as the family made their way to Nyirenda’s final resting place in his village.

“We are going to bury him now…. We are in a convoy… His (Nyirenda’s) mother and father are in a vehicle behind me. They are crying now,” Banda told CNN.

Nyirenda’s body was returned to Zambia last month. On arrival on December 11, his remains were transported to the mortuary of the University Teaching Hospital in Zambia for post-mortem checks in accordance with Zambian law.

“The funeral gathering at the residence of the Nyirenda family, the formalities for the burial and the memorial service will not commence until the completion of the above mandatory legal procedures,” a family statement said at the time.

Banda told CNN that the forensic examination on Nyirenda’s body had been “confirmed”, without releasing further details.

Nyirenda is not the first African student to have died on the Ukrainian battlefield while fighting for Russia in a development that has sparked anger across the continent.

A Tanzanian national, identified by his country’s foreign ministry as Nemes Tarimo, was killed last October when he fought Wagner in exchange for money and amnesty, the ministry said in a statement. pronunciation on Tuesday.

Tarimo was a master’s student at Moscow University of Technology, where he studied business informatics before being sent to prison for seven years in March last year on undisclosed criminal charges, the ministry said, adding that his body had been shipped from Russia and is expected to be returned in Tanzania soon for the funeral.

Nyirenda, 23, was sponsored by the Zambian government to study nuclear engineering at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, but was convicted of unspecified crimes in Russia in 2020 and jailed for nine years and six months, the foreign ministry said. Zambia in one pronunciation the announcement of his death in November.

In a sequel pronunciation last month, the ministry explained that in August Nyirenda was pardoned by the Russian government “to take part in a military operation in exchange for amnesty” and was “killed in September 2022 while participating in military activities”.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Wagner’s mercenary group, admitted to recruiting Nyirenda from a Russian prison.

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