A RELATIVE of a soldier who died after suspected torture while serving a 40-day sentence for an undisclosed offence at Induna Detention Barracks on the outskirts of Bulawayo on Thursday said he suspected the deceased could have been tortured.
BY SILAS NKALA
Albert Tsorombiri, an uncle to the now deceased Alfonce Nhengo (29), made the remarks while cross examining one of the trainers, Cosmas Mkonga, during an inquest into the death.
Mkonga had told the court that he took Nhengo through some physical training on April 23 and 24 last year.
Mkonga said he met Nhengo at the detention barracks where he was serving his sentence on April 23 and took him, together with other inmates, through physical training.
He said on April 24, Nhengo told him that he was tired and he (Mkonga) relayed the information to his superior, one Zvandasara.
He said on April 25 and 28, the deceased made the same complaint and he referred him to the army medic, Sergeant Jainos Musenyi.
Mkonga said he last saw Nhengo on April 29, but he had no injuries. However, Tsorombiri queried how that was possible when he had facial injuries.
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“The whole of his back, from neck to the bottom, had no skin. It was like he had been scalded with hot water and had blisters. On both side of the waist he had deep wounds,” he said.
But Tsorombiri disputed the observations.
The second-in-command at the Detention Barrack, Captain Sindiso Sibanda, initially told the court she did not see the injuries, but later said she noticed that Nhengo had some bruises.
She said on April 28 he had been well, but on April 29, she found workmates waiting for her saying Nhengo was no longer able to eat.
Sibanda said she informed her superiors who instructed her to take him to the clinic. Nurses said he must be referred to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where he later died 20 minutes after arrival.
Tsorombiri asked Sibanda how his nephew was treated at the UBH. Sibanda said she was not aware of how they do it at the hospital.
When Mutsindikwa asked if she tried to find out what had happened to her colleague leading to his death, she said there were no official investigations.
The State called medic Musenyi who said Nhengo had told him that he was assaulted.
He said when he checked him he discovered that he had wounds and advised his bosses about his condition.
Musenyi said he gave him some medication to reduce pain. He said when they took Nhengo to hospital, a nurse tested sugar levels and the doctor attended to him, but later told them he had died.
The inquest is being heard by Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove.
A post mortem report produced by a government pathologist Sanganayi Pesanayi revealed Nhengo was severely assaulted leading to his death.
“I examined the remains of Alfonce Nhengo on April 28 2014 at UBH and as a result of the forgoing examination I am of the opinion that the cause of death was bronchial aspiration, compartment syndrome and severe assault,” Pesanayi said.