A BALLISTIC expert has told the Lusaka High Court that late state prosecutor Nsama Nsama Chipyoka and UPND supporter Joseph Kaunda were killed by the same bullet.
This is a matter in which 25-year-old police officer, Constable Fanwell Nyundu, of Matero Police Camp is facing two counts of murder.
In count one, it is alleged that on December 23, 2020, Nyundu murdered Nsama.
In count two, it is alleged that Nyundu, on the same date, murdered Kaunda.
When the matter came up for trial before Judge Joshua Banda, Wednesday, Daniel Banda, 48, an assistant Superintendent from the Police Force headquarters forensic ballistic unit where he serves as a ballistic expert, testified that his department received a call from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) requesting for forensic experts to visit a shooting scene where Nsama and Kaunda were allegedly shot dead by police who were trying to disperse cadres.
He said the matter was quickly reported to the assistant director, crime three, who promptly constituted a team of forensic experts and scenes of crime officers to visit the scene.
The witness stated that being part of the 13 member team, they proceeded to the crime scene which was at cabinet restaurant near Cabinet Office.
He said upon arrival, they saw Nsama’s body lying on the veranda of the restaurant and some suspected blood and brain tissue on the tarred road which separates the restaurant from the National Prosecution Authority.
Banda told the court that there was a distance of about 12.8 metres between Nsama and the site where Kaunda’s body was removed, as he found that the body was already taken to the UTH mortuary.
“The other body was reportedly taken to the UTH mortuary, the body of Joseph Kaunda who was allegedly shot down at the spot where the suspected blood and brain tissue were found,” he testified.
Banda said after he finished inspecting Nsama’s body, they found two wounds, one on the upper right side of his chest, about 70 mm from the nipple, believed to be the entry wound and the other, believed to be the exit wound, on the left side of his back below the scapula.
“The first victim, Nsama was found lying down, facing up, he was in a pool of blood. More blood was concentrated where his head was. His head was positioned to the north west while his feet were to the south east. He had a bullet wound on the right side of his chest and this wound was characterized by inward drag of body tissues, he had another exit wound at the left back side, just below the scapula as earlier stated. This wound measured about 24 mm long and 14 mm at the base. It was boat shaped. The entry wound measured about 7.5 mm. The characteristics on the exit wound were outward tissues and it was open,” he said.
Banda said they later conducted a systematic and thorough search and recovered a total of 26 cartridge casings, which were recorded photographically as found by the scenes of crime officers.
He said the said cartridges were found around the entrance to Cabinet Office, around the Cenotaph as well as near the exit gate at Cabinet Office.
Banda testified that during the post-mortem on Kaunda, an entry wound was observed on his right side of his head and was boat shaped, generally, and it was an open wound.
He added that there were inward drag body tissues, which characteristics indicated that it was caused by a tumbling bullet that penetrated that part of the head on its side and lodged therein, as it was extracted during the said post-mortem.
Banda further testified that after noting the characteristics of the wounds, he concluded that the same bullet killed both victims.
“The characteristics of the entry would on male Joseph Kaunda were similar to that of the exit wound on male Nsama Nsama in dimension and general shape. I concluded that the same exhibit fatal bullet extracted from the second victim, Joseph Kaunda is one and the same bullet that penetrated and perforated the thorax of male Nsama Nsama. As the two bodies of Nsama and Joseph Kaunda were also found to be in the same alignment from the source of fire which came from the western direction where most of the spent cartridge tracings were picked from,” he said.
“The basis of what was observed in the exit wound, on the back side of Nsama, the size of the wound and its general shape, the shape of his exhibit before us is generally boat shaped and that is also the same shape observed on the exit bullet wound of Nsama and also on the entry wound on Kaunda.”
He added that the exhibit fatal bullet weighed about 7.8 grams which is the standard weight of the bullet or projectile of calibre 7.62 mm Russian shot.
“I did examine 33 exhibit firearms and 157 cartridges. Those were in two calibres, five were in calibre 7.62 mm NATO and the rest were in calibre 7.62 mm Russian shot, plus the 46 cartridge casings that were picked from the crime scene, 22 of the cartridge casings picked from the crime scene were in calibre 7.62 mm Russian shot and four were in calibre 7.62 mm NATO. The other exhibits came from various police stations, the firearms also came from various police stations. The purpose was to conduct forensic ballistic examination forensic analysis. That was in order to ascertain which firearm discharged the fatal bullet that is before us,” said Banda.
He said in the west direction, there was one spent cartridge that was connected or could have been discharged from the exhibit firearm.
Banda stated that the 33 firearms which were examined had been used on the material day, that’s why they were chosen from various police stations for analysis.
Trial continues in the matter.
Nsama and Kaunda were shot dead near the Cabinet office as police officers dispersed UPND supporters who had gone to offer solidarity to President Hakainde Hichilema who was being questioned at police headquarters in Lusaka.
During that time, President Hichilema was being questioned over the purchase of a piece of land in Kalomo district belonging to the late Samson Siatembo, which allegedly occurred in 2004.