The Zambia Police command in Luapula Province says frantic efforts are being made to secure the release of five Zambian fishermen detained in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Luapula province Police Commissioner Hudson Namachila said the issue was discussed during the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held in Ndola last week.
Mr Namachila however said that the meeting which was chaired by the Inspector General (IG) of Police Stella Libongani did not reach a conclusion because of some pertinent issues that were raised by the Congolese officials.
Speaking in a telephone interview with ZANIS in Nchelenge today, Mr. Namachila said the Police need to know the nature of the offences committed by the five Zambian fishermen to ascertain whether they should be prosecuted or merely fined.
He said to that effect the Nchelenge District Joint Operation Committee (DJOC) has since been tasked to engage their counterparts in Congo DR for a possible amicable solution.
Mr Namachila disclosed that the DJOC should be leaving for that country today to establish whether the culprits will be prosecuted and in case of a fine how much money is required to secure their release.
The Congolese authorities last week apprehended five Zambian fishermen that strayed into that country’s waters during a fishing expedition for illegal use of mosquito nets.
The officials in Congo DR are demanding for the release of their 19 citizens detained at the Nchelenge State Prison for allegedly trafficking in cannabis in exchange for the safety of the Zambian fish mongers.
The five fishermen, all of Kilwa Island on Lake Mweru in Chief Nshimba’s area, are in detention at Nkole Mulenga Island in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.