By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE -
FORTY-SIX Ethiopians and six Zambians have been intercepted and detained in a suspected human trafficking scandal in Kafue and Nakonde districts.
Lusaka Province Commissioner in-charge of operations Nelson Phiri and Immigration Department public relations officer Namati Nshinka confirmed the developments in separate interviews yesterday.
Mr Nshinka said the first group of 34 was intercepted at Donald Siwale Primary School within Nakonde aboard a white Toyota Quantum vehicle, registration number ALB 5888.
He said the vehicle was being driven by a Zambian identified as Jonathan Mwale, aged 43, and accompanied by Daniel Mwape, 33.
He said that the other 16 were intercepted at Kafue Road Bridge checkpoint by police as they headed towards Chirundu.
Four of those arrested are three Zambian taxi drivers and a Nakonde resident, a Mr Simwenga, aged 38, of Ntindi area who is believed to be the trafficker.
Mr Nshinka identified the three taxi drivers as Crayton Hakayabu, 35, who was driving a Toyota Corolla registration number ALD 1320, Trywell Ndikiti, aged 30, driving a Daihatsu registration number ALJ 2709 and a Mr Edwell Nyirenda, aged 40, driving a Toyota Corolla motor vehicle registration number ALK5273, all Kafue residents.
The three were charged with the responsibility of transporting the Ethiopians across the checkpoint.
The 12 Ethiopians were believed to have been heading to South Africa from the Nakonde border post. They are aged between 18 and 30.
Mr Nshinka said that among the 12 Ethiopians, five were in possession of passports which did not have entry endorsements for Zambia, while the other seven did not have any documents at the time of the arrests.
He said the 16 who are in the custody of the Immigration Department are currently detained at Kamwala Remand Prison pending further investigations and possible prosecution.
The motor vehicles used in the scams have since been impounded.
Mr Phiri confirmed the interception of the 12 Ethiopians and four Zambians, but said the matter had since been handed over to the Immigration for their further action.
He expressed concern over the increased occurrence of cases of human trafficking and smuggling.