ABDUCTION victims have expressed shock that police and members of the public were not aware that they were missing, saying if their rescue had delayed, most of them would have died due to the torture they suffered while in captivity.
And Audrine Kalangu, a relative of one of the abducted ladies says her sister, Faith Muluti, was actually the first victim to be abducted in March, but her case was not given much attention despite being reported at Kanyama Police Station.
Some victims spoken to narrated that the abductors forced them to drink high-potent spirits usually distributed in sachets popularly known as “tujilijili”, while others were forced to smoke.
The victims narrated that they were forced to have intercourse with the abductors, with regular sessions of torture.
“For me and my friend, we were coming from a white party. Then we were offered a lift and that’s how we were taken to the house. There, we found some other people. They said if your relatives send us money then we will release you. But there were some charms and a coffin in the house. We did not have regular meals. Sometimes we would eat once, sometimes we would sleep without eating. Then they would beat us with some objects. One of the ladies I think they broke her leg and she can’t walk. The other lady was beaten, she has a problem with her eye, she was punched. This used to happen almost every day. What they did is that whenever they were beating us, they would play music and put high volume so that people don’t hear any screaming. Sometimes they would cover our mouths to prevent us from screaming,” narrated one of the victims.
“Me, I had never drunk alcohol before, I tasted alcohol from that house. They forced us to drink tujilijili and smoke. Then since like you are not used, you black out and they would take you and abuse you while you are unconscious. This happened to most of us. They would just pick any girl and sleep with her. Some days, they would bring cucumbers and say can you insert this, if you refuse they beat you [up].”
The victims said they could hear some traditional doctors suspected to be from Mozambique and Malawi visiting the house.
“We could hear them sometimes talk about cutting private parts. But I don’t think they did this by the time we were rescued. There were some papas, kaya if they are from Mozambique or Malawi. We also saw the coffin there and some charms. If we were not taken out, most of us would have died. That place was hell. Bathing, there was no bathing, if you have a chance to bath, there was no soap, you just bath with water. So every day we were praying to God that we are rescued but no one came. A lot of us lost hope, we were just lucky to be alive. We thought that police were looking for all of us, but days went by and we just kept strengthening each other. Sometimes we would just cry. We were surprised that people didn’t know about all this,” she narrated.
The victims narrated that there were some pregnant ladies in the group and one of them had developed Edema, (a condition that causes swelling in the feet, ankles and hands due to excess fluid trapped in the body tissue).
“Benangu (others) couldn’t walk. There was this lady who was heavily pregnant. She couldn’t walk. Even now she is on a wheelchair. She developed swelling legs, even her she was tortured. Those people were like they were on drugs, they were not acting normal. At the beginning, they said if your relatives pay us money, then we will release you. But then it’s like they were working on charms and some of the things they did to us we don’t even know because they would make you black out,” narrated the victims.
In a separate interview, Kalungu said her family has faced a lot of trauma especially that Muluti was abducted a few months after she just got married between January and February this year and was pregnant.
Kalangu narrated that Muluti was abducted on her way from work with her child when the abductors pretended to offer her a lift.
“It was in March and she was actually the first one to be abducted. She was with her child when she was knocking off from work. That is how they pretended to give her a lift. That is how they took her. She had a child but you know they cannot take her with a child. That is what they decided. I don’t know if they wanted to kill the child but they ended up beating the child like I don’t know, they thought she was dead and threw her away then ran away with the mother. The child is just three years old,” she said.
Kalangu said Muluti’s three-year-old child was later found near a police station.
“In fact, the family started looking for them. We went to Kanyama police and reported the matter but it was quiet. So upon looking for them, that’s how they found the child near the police and took her to the hospital. When she was at least better and that is how they started asking her. You know these kids are kind of clever even when they are still young. So they started asking her and she was able to kind of draw the suspect. She was drawing and telling them that he looked like this. A three-year-old child was drawing the suspect to the police and telling them,” she said.
Kalangu, however, lamented that the police did not put in much effort in finding her sister, not until Pamela Chisumpa, the mobile money agent was also reported missing a month later.
“However even after telling them, they didn’t put in much effort until the issue of Pamela came in. But Faith was the first one to be abducted but attention was only given to Pamela who went missing in April. Faith has been there since March. Faith was abducted while she was pregnant. She got married in January or February. So she just spent I think two months in marriage and got abducted and the husband knew that she was pregnant before being abducted,” she said.
Kalangu said the abductors called the Muluti family and demanded K5,000 as ransom.
“The abductors called us that they wanted K5,000 at first. But Faith’s mother is just a widow who is struggling with life and doing business in Soweto market. So she couldn’t manage. The father is late and family members cannot help. She was just running up and down trying to do things but nothing came out. She just left her faith in God that one day, God will hear her prayer. So we never talked to Faith when she was inside. The family just talked to the abductors,” she explained.
Kalangu said the situation had traumatized her sister and the family, further appealing to government to ensure they undergo counselling.
“This situation has really affected us because for me as her sister, I was depressed. Faith’s family has been suffering. Our mother being a single mother since our father passed on, she’s been running around helping the family in every angle. So it is really heartbreaking. I didn’t know what to do because even when praying I was feeling pain and was angry at God why he allowed that to happen,” said Kalangu.
“It is traumatizing to my sister and us as a family. Faith needs counselling, especially that she had been there the longest. You saw the situation that the house was in. It was not even healthy. The girls need full checkups and counselling. Government and well-wishers must also help with improving their lives.”
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