Zambia: Four Women Murdered in Possible Ritual Killings

A spate of murders in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, has had the web buzzing about what needs to be done to stop them. It all started with an allegedly ritualistic murder of one young woman by the name of Ruth Mbandu in July this year. Her naked body was found with her facial skin peeled off, eyes poked out and ears cut off.

The nation reacted as the president of the former ruling party (the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy) Nevers Mumba, paid a visit to the funeral home for the deceased; some sympathized with the family and others asked for the blood of the killer/s.

Citizen reactions

Ruth Mbandu, a 19-year-old student was murdered in an incident suspected to be ritual. Image used with permission from

Ruth Mbandu, a 19-year-old student was murdered in an incident suspected to be ritual. Image used with permission from

Commenting on the story one reader emphasized the importance of Christianity:

The true gospel needs to be preached in Zambia in every province Mathew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-19. May the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ shine brighter and brighter over Zambia.

Another reader, Ferigo, said:

With her blood in your hands u wil never fnd peace til justice fnds u..RIP RUTH MBANGU.

In view of the ongoing debate about the death penalty in the new constitution, Mwanambinyi had this to say:

And then you say the penalty should be done away with. These criminals should be caught and hanged!


It was thought that the case had been brought to a conclusion when the police arrested a Christian pastor and organized a manhunt for a driver who was thought to be his accomplice. People were elated and responded accordingly with accusations leveled against the church and Satanism.

Pilila wrote:

Let them face the wrath of the law and JUSTICE should prevail.

Feckson Tembo called for regulation of churches:

CCZ/City councils should regulate the formation of churches.No wonder in Russia they don’t allow churches that never existed before 1972 to emerge.And you the same so called Pastors/Bishop you advocate for the abolition of Death Penalty to hell!

Uncle P disagreed with Feckson about registration of churches in Zambia:

@Feckson Tembo, get ur facts right. My church in Petersburg was registered in 1998.

KMM blamed new charismatic churches:

In the name of Zambia being a Christian Nation,Satanists are hiding in these small charismatic churches which are looming at a very faster rate and to take life of such a pretty young girl,with great future in a gruesome manner like that is unbearable.The culprits should rot in jail so as to endure it slowly until they die.

It is the same reason I do not trust these churches,unless main stream churches like Catholic,SDA, Jehovah’s Witnesses just to mention a few with branches all over the country and the world at large.

God bless Zambia.

Moffat Mkandawire supported the call for regulation of new churches:

That innocent soul of Ruth cannot rest just like that,the truth has to be found and the perpetrators have to be punished severely.Please let us regulate these new churches full of satanism mushroom and cover the entire country.Life is precious.

User peace told the accused not to be worried if he did not commit the crime:

If its not true surely god will fight 4 u Bishop. Don’t be afraid.

The same reader asked netizens not to accuse new churches:

Dont accuse the formation of churches MR F T but false teachers From your church or any other church. If Juda iscariot existed among the 12 DISCIPLES what of yr early chuch mr FT?

Murders continue

However, despite the arrests the murders have continued with more women being killed, bringing the number of victims so far to four.

Readers reacted to the report of the third murder on the Lusaka Times website [the site does not provide permanent links to individual comments]. Voice of Reason argued that the murders show that the Zambian police force is inefficient:

Very sad. Either the reporting is very poor or the Police are hopeless – surely the suspicion of rape is being based on the Zip of the deceased trouser being open and I quote “Police say, Mazuba, a mother of three of house number 22, Cedar Road in Woodlands, is believed to have been raped before being killed because the zipper on her trousers was found open”. Leaves a lot to be desired – Why did they remove Inspector General Martin Malama? Without him the rot that was in the Police force has once again become a given and both cops and thieves alike go about with their corrupt business and thieving with no fear. Bring back Malama

Mpingajira advised readers not to blame the victims:

It is not logical to state that the solution to the probelm is our women or girls as you call them stop moving at night. While that sounds a morally correct thing to suggest, it implies robbing people of their freedom of movement, we can not say any girl moving at night deserves to be killed in cold blood. The police should just expedite their investigations in these cases and quickly nail the culprit. We could be dealing with a serial killer and no one has even suspected that, are there any simmillarities in the profiles of the girls killed??? Lets not blame the victims, it is punishing the murderers and making our streets safe for everyone including the girls, once again!!!

Candance_Dempsey reported on Twitter about genger-based violence in Zambia, sharing a link to an article about it:

@Candace_Dempsey: Gender-based violence protested in #Zambia after 2 murders and many rapes. #zambia via @allafrica

@pearlyicey advised women against moving at night:

@pearlyicey: ….I think its time ladies stopped moving after 19…in Zambia..these murders are scaring me

Friends of Ruth Mbandu have started a Facebook community page, Ruth Mbandu Rest In Peace, and Open Group, Tribute to Ruth Mbandu.

Whether these murders are ritualistic, like in the case of Ruth Mbandu, or they are purely criminal activities, many people are alarmed and some feel much more should be done.

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