By SYLVESTER MWALE, MOFFAT CHAZINGWA and FLAVIOR CHISHALA –
THE Cross Border Traders Association of Zambia (CBTAZ) has called for the deployment of Zambian soldiers at the Kasumbalesa Border Post to stop the persistent killings of truckers and business executives.
CBTAZ president Felix Daka said it was clear that police officers at the border lacked adequate capacity to provide security for both traders and truck drivers passing through the Congolese border.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) side of the Kasumbalesa is manned by soldiers unlike on the Zambian region where police officers are deployed.
Several truckers have been short dead in recent past, reportedly by Congolese armed forces manning the border for allegedly refusing to bribe them. In the same vein, there have been reports of businessmen being searched and killed in the DRC.
“We have been going through difficulties because if you look at Congo, they have soldiers at the border while we have police officers,” Mr Daka said. “I think we will sit down with the Ministry of Defence to provide soldiers for security. If there are soldiers that side, we also need soldiers this side to provide security.”
Truckers Association of Zambia (TAZ) said the Government should consider closing the Kasumbalesa border until the security situation improved at the crossing point.
In a statement yesterday, TAZ chief executive officer, Robert Mtonga said truckers would stop transporting their freight into the DRC unless the security situation improved.
Four associations representing the truckers held an emergency meeting during the week with the two Government ministries where the associations expressed their concerns about the continued harassment of drivers at Kasumbalesa.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula says the Government will propose the creation of a dry port in Zambia to be used as a stop point for trucks ferrying goods destined for the DRC.
A permanent police unit at the border in Chililabombwe will also soon be deployed to curb the influx of foreign nationals who are compromising security in the area.
Dr Simyakula said the Government was seriously considering a number of measures aimed at addressing the continued killing of truck drivers crossing into the DRC.