CHAOS characterised Kasumbalesa border post yesterday after a Zimbabwean truck driver was shot dead by unknown people just a day after calm had returned to the area.
The truck drivers had just resumed working after a boycott sparked by the brutal killing of their colleague, Patrick Mwila, 28, by a Congolese soldier on Thursday last week.
Zambian and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) residents yesterday rioted in protest at the killing of the Zimbabwean driver as others took advantage of the situation to loot shops.
Police fired teargas to restrain the irate residents from causing further damage to property.
The 52-year-old Joseph Mwachande Howard of Vitwell Limited of South Africa, who was driving a Mercedes Benz truck registration number XKT 039GP, was shot twice while he was in a queue on the Zambian side between Minestone Market and Petroda Filling Station by unknown people.
Chililabombwe police commanding officer Grace Kalenga, when briefing Chililabombwe District Commissioner Stuart Chipumbi and the Mayor Godwin Matafwali, who had rushed to the scene, said police officers heard gun shots just after they had finished their patrols around 05:30 hours.
Ms Kalenga said when the officers rushed to the scene, they found the driver dead.
Police spokesperson Charity Chanda said Mr Howard was found alone inside the cabin of the truck and two empty cartridges from an AK47 rifle were recovered from the scene.
Ms Chanda said the body of the deceased was taken to Kakoso Clinic mortuary as the police instituted investigations into the killing.
The cold-blooded murder sparked tension and stones rained from both ends of the border.
Some Zambians looted a shop they believed to be owned by a Congolese and stole about 100 mattresses which the police later recovered from some homes.
Some Congolese who had gone to Divine Bakery on the Zambian side were trapped inside the bakery but were shielded from possible attacks by police officers.
The truck drivers remained calm throughout the episode.
Some Zambians who had been offered protection by the DRC police were only released around mid-day, almost the same time when the Congolese nationals holed up in the bakery also found their freedom.
There were still some isolated incidents of confusion as the Zambia Revenue Authority workers resumed operations and trucks started moving into and out of Zambia.
Katanga Province Governor Moise Katumbi held a closed-door meeting with Zambian officials after which he said the two neighbouring countries should urgently hold talks to find a solution to the problem.
Mr Katumbi urged the truck drivers to continue with their work as the DRC had reinforced security.
Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge expressed regret at the killing of Mr Howard and appealed for calm among the residents as investigations were being carried out.
Mr Musenge said he would visit Kasumbalesa Border Post where Home Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula and Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani were expected to join him to discuss the security situation.
Times of Zambia