RELATIVES of a soldier who allegedly succumbed to torture while serving a 40-day sentence at Induna Detention Barracks outside Bulawayo in July last year told the court on Tuesday that an army chaplain had confided in them that their family member had been murdered by colleagues.
BY SILAS NKALA
The late Alfonce Nhengo’s relatives told Bulawayo magistrate Gladmore Mushove that an army chaplain, identified as Major Moyana told mourners during his burial that three soldiers had killed him.
Nhengo (29) fell ill while in detention and died at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH). He was serving a 40-day sentence for an undisclosed offence at Induna Detention Barracks. A post-mortem report produced in court indicated that Nhengo died of bronchial aspiration, compartment syndrome and severe assault.
However, another army chaplain, Major Ortson Moyo told the court during an inquest presided by Mushove that Nhengo’s death had come as a shock to his colleagues as he had previously appeared healthy.
He said in his 21 years of army service, he had never heard of a soldier dying in detention, though he admitted military personnel at times died during training.
He said following Nhengo’s death, a board of inquiry sat at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo to deliberate on his death even though he was not aware of its outcome since he was not part of it.
Moyo denied ever making statements suggesting that Nhengo died as a result of torture.
The inquest continues on September 4.