By RABECCA CHIPANTA
ZAMBIA’S High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) Muyeba Chikonde has appealed to UK police authorities to bring to book a masked gang of boys who ambushed and stabbed to death a 16-year-old Zambian Joshua Bwalya.
According to a statement issued yesterday by Press Secretary at the Zambian Mission in the UK, Abigail Chaponda, officers from the Mission on Sunday visited Joshua’s funeral house in Barking Essex to pay their respects.
The deceased’s mother Queenie Bwalya in an interview at the funeral house said her son was a victim of a crazy postcode war and had been targeted by a gang from a rival Barking estate.
She narrated to First Secretary Consular Portipher Sakala and First Secretary Administration and Political Affairs Millicia Nkoma Mutale that Joshua was stabbed six times in the back and ribs and his lungs were punctured.
Ms Bwalya narrated that Joshua and two of his friends were ambushed by the group on bicycles who were wearing masks as they were going home from a party.
“Joshua’s death is the most painful experience. The three were chased into a 24-hour supermarket on Ripple Road at about 1 am, then again into the street, where Joshua was stabbed. Passers-by fought to save him but he died at the scene. His two friends, who banged on doors of nearby homes to ask for help, were also stabbed but they survived. My prayer is that the police should find these people and arrest them,” she said.
Ms Bwalya said her son’s body would only be released to the family for burial in four to eight weeks after the police concluded investigations.
She said Joshua, a promising footballer, played for Barking FC’s youth team and had just finished his GCSEs (secondary school) and dreamed of playing central midfield for Chelsea Football Club.
Mr Chikonde extended his deepest condolences to the Bwalya family on the untimely death of their son.
In a message of condolences to the Bwalya family, Mr Chikonde said he had learnt with a deep sense of sorrow and sadness on the tragic death of Joshua, stating that the Zambian High Commission in London and the Zambian community mourned with the Bwalyas.
“On behalf of all Zambians in the United Kingdom and indeed on my own behalf, allow me to extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” he said.