Tuesday. 22.10.2019
El tiempo

Who cries for Cecilia?

The African community in Finland mourns a 38-year-old woman killed by her husband, who today has been remanded into custody by the Päijät-Hame district court.

Cecilia Chiluba, the Zambian woman killed in Lahti. Photo: Mercy Nampemba (FB).
Cecilia Chiluba, the Zambian woman killed in Lahti. Photo: Mercy Nampemba (FB).
Who cries for Cecilia?

-"I am sad that nobody is reporting about this. Can you please investigate and publish it?"

This laconic message arrived this morning in the Foreigner.fi newsroom, accompanied by a link to a Facebook page. It was sent by an African reader living in Finland who claims to have met sometimes with Cecilia Chiluba Arvola, the Zambian woman mother of two children who was killed by her Finnish husband last Sunday in Lahti.

-"I used to know her from the church, but we were not close friends, thank you for being our voice," this reader said.

Cecilia.-by-Mercy-Nampemba

This person is one of the hundreds of Africans living in Finland who cry, for Cecilia and for the indifference with which society has digested the murder of this 38-year old woman. According to police information, it was carried out with a licensed firearm owned by her husband, who today was remanded into custody by the District Court of Päijät-Häme.

The couple had got married in January 2016 in Northern Finland, but later they had moved southwards.

Grieving comments

The mourning, the signs of sadness and grieving comments also multiplied throughout the day in the Facebook groups and pages participated by people of African origin, such as Afrofinns (followed by 150 people), which has changed its header to honor the victim, and Zambian Community in Finland (Zacofi, 259 followers). 

-"This is really heartbreaking, I always thought Finland was a place where these things did not happen." 

-"So terrible, God help those children."

-"You have gone too soon Chiluba,You will be greatly missed, till we meet again..." 

-"There are a lot of things that African women married to Finnish men go through without talking about..."

With their messages, Africans try to remove the feelings of loneliness and uprooting that this murder has left in their hearts. Immigrants have to comfort each other within their communities, since normally they cannot find other comforters.

Mourning in Zambia

Cecilia's sister Mercy Nampemba, from the distant city of Kasama (in the Northern Province of Zambia), also expressed via Facebook her pain for the death of a young woman who immigrated to Finland to find death instead of the better life she had been looking for.

She posted a dozen of photos and a few sad lines to say goodbye to a dead sister thousands of kilometers away from home:

-"Your death has caught me by surprise, I am deeply saddened sisy Cecilia. l can't believe you are gone for good, this is so breaking that you had to leave your two sons behind in such a manner.... I will always heart you my love. RlP, until we meet again on the other side, go well cute sisy, missing you already."

Divorce and custody triggered the crime

According to Häme Police Department, Cecilia was shot dead in Lahti on Sunday 6 October around 17:30.

Cecilia 3 by Mercy Nampemba.

Detective Inspector Jari Kiiskinen already informed on Monday that the suspect of the crime was the victim's husband, a 53-year old man. The homicide was carried out outside, in Ala-Tonttilankatu street.

Cecilia, who was 15 years younger than the suspect, had filed for divorce at the beginning of this year, but the file is still handled in the District Court.

According to the Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat, she filed another case a couple of weeks ago to ask for the full custody of one of her children.

She claimed the child had been taken to live in Kouvola, where the father lives, without her consent. She also explained she had previously signed an agreement without understanding anything about Finnish law and the child custody system. The file says "she had made the agreement to be able to at least see the child occasionally."

The District Court has set the due date for the indictment on 31 January 2020.

No other suspects

Police informed in its latest release that they have collected all necessary evidences around the case (including the firearm used to commit the crime) and they are not searching for any other suspects. However, as the case is related to the couple's marriage and there are "indications of private and sensitive issues," they will not provide any further information at this stage.

The investigators also thanked the citizens who provided information that helped to clear the facts. They received "numerous contacts" and they promised all communications will be answered.

Now Cecilia's family, friends and loved ones can only wait for justice to be honored. And in the meantime, cry.

*All photos included in this article by Mercy Nampemba.

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