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FIVE people charged with two counts of abduction with intent to confine yesterday appeared in the Choma Magistrates Court.

The five are accused of abducting Pheluna and Milton Hatembo.

The defendants are Veronica Mwanakasale Mukuni, aged 45, Fines Malambo, 46, a businessman, Ackson Sejani 63, farmer and former Cabinet Minister, Vincent Lilanda, 49, who is Mazabuka Mayor and Javen Simolooka 45, the Mayor of Choma.

Allegations in count one are that the five abducted Pheluna Hatembo with intent to cause her to be secretly and wrongfully confined.

In count two, the five are also charged for allegedly abducting Milton Hatembo with intent to cause him to be secretly and wrongfully confined.

Earlier, the state objected to the defence’s application to have the police removed from the court premises in the abduction case involving Senior Chief Mukuni’s wife, Veronica, and four others.

The matter came up yesterday for mention before Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Mungala.

However, defence lawyers noted with concern the increase in the number of police officers deployed at the court premises.

Ms Martha Mushipe applied that the police be removed from the court premises, accusing them of intimidating not only the public, accused persons’ family but also the media.

But objecting to the application, State Advocate Chitengi Kahilu stated that the Constitution gives mandate to the police to provide security to everyone and their presence was to merely see that peace was not disturbed.

“Looking at the nature of the case, the case itself has the potential to attract huge numbers of people and there is no single building here that can accommodate everyone,” he submitted

Mr Mungala could not pass ruling on the issues raised and reserved the matter to Principal Resident Magistrate Idah Mupemo who was not present.

The case would come on May 26, 2021 for commencement of trial.

The five had their police bonds extended.

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