GOVERNMENT has said it will relocate residents whose houses are close to Kasumbalesa border post to enhance security.
Home Affairs Minister, Ngosa Simbyakula told Parliament yesterday that Government would also establish a dry port at Kasumbalesa border as part of the measures to address security concerns.
The minister, however, told Parliament that there was no tension between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following the recent killings of two truck drivers at Kasumbalesa border post.
Dr Simbyakula, who presented a ministerial statement on the security situation at Kasumbalesa border post, indicated that various stringent measures were being undertaken to address the security concerns.
He said the security situation between Zambia and the DRC would be addressed in the manner of good neighbourly relations.
He also assured Parliament during yesterday’s proceedings that appropriate diplomatic engagements with the DRC were being utilised to address events following the killings of the two drivers.
Zambian truck driver, Patrick Mwila, 28, was shot dead on the DRC side for reportedly refusing to pay a bribe while a Zimbabwean driver, Joseph Howard Mwachande, 52, was killed in cold-blood by unknown people on the Zambian side.
Opposition Members of Parliaments (MPs) questioned Dr Simbyakula why Zambian drivers were being harassed by authorities in the DRC.
The parliamentarians including United Party for National Development (UPND) Monze Central MP, Jack Mwiimbu, MMD Chembe MP Mwansa Mbulakulima, and UPND Moomba MP Vitalis Mooya shared observations that the DRC was having leeway to harass Zambians.
But Dr Simbyakula said that was not the case as diplomatic efforts were being used to address the matter.
“I wish to state that what happened at Kasumbalesa is most unfortunate and regrettable and has been condemned by both our Government and that of the DRC.
“Investigations into the incidents are ongoing and the two Governments are working together to ensure that these criminals are identified and brought to book,” the minister said.
Dr Simbyakula, who visited the border area after the killings, said the security situation would normalise and that DRC’s Katanga Province Governor Moses Katumbi, who was also at the border at the time, had assured that safety measures would be introduced.
Some of the measures included the deployment of 200 police officers, with an additional 45 officers to be deployed at Bilanga area soon, the relocation of residents whose houses were too close to the border line, and the construction of a dry port.
Dr Simbyakula said in order to reduce the congestion of trucks at the border, it was resolved that the Zambia Revenue Authority should increase its working hours from 18:00 hours to 20:00 hours.
He said a further extension of the hours was halted because of security concerns.
In another development, Deputy Speaker Mkhondo Lungu has asked Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba to issue a ministerial statement on the Constitution-making process.
Mr Lungu also tasked Vice-President Guy Scott to issue a clarification on the issuance of a mining licence to Zambezi Resources of Australia to carry out mining activities in the Lower Zambezi.
Both statements were expected to be delivered to the House next week.
Times of Zambia