By CHILA NAMAIKO –
SPECIAL forces from the 48-Marine Unit have in the last few days intercepted hundreds bags of mealie meal in Nchelenge district that was about to be smuggled into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Owing to high demand of mealie-meal in that country, some traders in Nchelenge are conniving with local taxi drivers to transport the commodity at night to water-bodies such as Lake Mweru,
where some operators of canoes and boats ferry the bags to buyers in DRC.
Such undertakings, however, are being curtailed by the alert marine Special Forces deployed in Luapula province to provide security along the water-bodies.
In Nchelenge, the marine unit and other security wings, in the last few days intercepted over 110 bags of mealie-meal, of the 50kg weight, that were on the way to being smuggled into DRC.
Information of the interceptions came to light when Patriotic Front (PF) Nchelenge Member of Parliament (MP) Anthony Malama called on the marine special forces in Nchelenge on Sunday.
Mr Malama, accompanied by the marine officers, later called on district police officer in-charge Beauty Mwape, before he was taken to a nearby warehouse storing the intercepted commodity.
The MP praised the security officers for their vigilance in helping to thwart the smugglers.
“We know the challenges you are facing in the operations, but we are impressed to see how vigilant you are as security wings to ensure in your operations, you also intercept any bag of mealie-meal from being
smuggled out of the country. We are happy with your tireless efforts,” he said.
He called on the officers to continue to implement President Edgar Lungu’s recent directive to stop the smuggling of the staple.
Mr Malama disclosed that some traders of mealie meal in Nchelenge had formed cartels to smuggle the commodity into DRC where a 25 kilogramme bag was selling at K350.
Ms Mwape said the police and the marine units are working well to curb the smuggling of mealie meal in the district. See Picture on Page 2