By CHUSA SICHONE and CHATULA KAMPO –
THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Government has provided funds to cater for funeral expenses for Patrick Mwila, the 28-year-old Zambian truck driver who was shot dead by that country’s soldier.
Meanwhile, the situation at Kasumbalesa Border Post is calm, although truck drivers are not crossing into the DRC.
Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary George Zulu said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the Congolese Government, through its Interior minister, had apologised to the bereaved family and Zambia as a whole for the brutal killing of Mr Mwila.
Mr Mwila of Luanshya was s hot dead on Wednesday around 21:00 hours by Corporal Lubengele Kisimba as he tried to retrieve a number plate that the soldier had ripped off his truck.
This was after Mr Mwila allegedly refused to bribe the soldier who had demanded a payment of US$10 (K55) to enable him to jump a queue of other truck drivers waiting to be cleared at a DRC dry port called Whisky.
The culprit is on the run while Congolese authorities are holding his wife to assist with investigations.
Mr Zulu, who was elated at the cooperation exhibited by the DRC Government over the issue, said the Congolese authorities yesterday released Mr Mwila’s body to their Zambian counterparts.
“They have provided money to the family towards the funeral expenses,” he said.
Mr Zulu could, however, did not give the actual amount involved, saying he would be in a position to do so today after receiving a full report.
He described the killing of Mr Mwila as a “criminal act by one deranged person”, adding that the Congolese authorities had assured that they would do everything possible to ensure that the culprit was brought to book.
Mr Zulu said peace had returned to Kasumbalesa Border Post where Congolese truck drivers had started crossing into Zambia.
He said truck drivers from the Zambian side were still afraid to cross over to the Congolese side.
Acting Copperbelt Province police commissioner Joyce Kasosa also said in Ndola yesterday that the situation at the border post was calm, although truck drivers from Zambia were not crossing into the DRC.