The 32-year-old Zambia Air Force (ZAF) soldier, who is alleged to have abused and tortured her 11-year-old niece, has appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court and pleaded not guilty to one count of assault on a child.

According to Zambia Police, the victim sustained serious burns all over the body as hot spoons were alleged to have been used to inflict injuries.

In this matter, Mildred Luwaile, of ZAF Twin Palm is charged with assault on a child contrary to Section 248 (a) of the Penal Code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

Particulars of the offence allege that on March 25, 2019, in Lusaka, Luwaile assaulted a child under the age of 16, thereby, occasioning her actual bodily harm.

When the matter came up for plea before Magistrate Thandose Chabala, Tuesday, the accused who is in police custody, denied the charge.

Luwaile, through her lawyer, then applied for bail pending trial, saying she was of fixed abode and ready to meet the conditions that would be set by the court.

The State did not object to the bail application.

However, Magistrate Chabala reserved her ruling on the bail application and adjourned the matter to May 3, 2019, for a ruling and possible commencement of trial.

Luwaile will remain remanded in custody until then.

According to a statement issued by Zambia Police Service public relations officer Esther Katongo recently, the accused person was reported to the police by a concerned member of the public that she was allegedly abusing and assaulting her niece.

She disclosed that the ordeal was reported to have occurred between March 25, 2019, and April 11, 2019.

“Woodlands Police received a report of child battery (assault on a child) in which a female juvenile aged 11 years was allegedly being abused and assaulted by her aunt aged 32 (whose name we have withheld) of Twin Palm who is an officer in ZAF holding a rank of Lieutenant. A report was received from a concerned member of the public. The girl sustained serious burns all over the body as hot spoons are alleged to have been used to inflict injuries. Victim is currently admitted at the ZAF health facility receiving medical attention,” Katongo had stated.

The 11-year-old was seen in a video that went viral on Facebook and social media, describing her ordeal.

She said she used to sleep in the garage on a reed mat and further explained how the accused allegedly used a hot knife and spoon to abuse her.

“Baleebika knife pa stove paka yakaba. Ngayakaba ninshi nabankakilila amaboko ne shirt yandi, elo baisa ngocha. Ngayatalala nakambi baisa bikapo! (She used to put a knife on the stove until it gets hot. When it gets hot then she will burn me, while my hands are tied behind!) Kukulu, balisasenda spoon babika pa stove then baisa nkakilila amolu bandalika panshi elo baisa ngocha apa. (The wound on my leg, she got a spoon, put it on the stove then tied my legs as she lay me down. She then burnt me here (pointing at her right leg),” narrated the victim.