POLICE in Kasumbalesa are holding a woman in connection with the killing of a Zimbabwean truck driver by a suspected Congolese soldier.
And Government is considering relocating Zambians living on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo at Kasumbalesa to guarantee their safety
Minister of Home Affairs Ngosa Simbyakula said in Lusaka yesterday that the woman, whose identity has been withheld for security reasons, is assisting police with investigations into the matter.
“Investigations are ongoing and one female is being held to assist with the investigations,” Dr Simbyakula said.
He said Government wants to establish the circumstances under which the truck driver was shot dead on the Zambian side last Thursday.
The minister said investigations have continued and Government is doing everything within its power to bring the culprit to book and end the killings.
Dr Simbyakula said police have also reinforced security at the border by deploying more officers.
He said the officers will remain at the border until Government meets with Congolese government authorities to find an amicable solution to the security concerns.
Dr Simbyakula said Government is committed to ensuring the safety of not only Zambians but all foreign nationals living and passing through the country.
Security concerns at Kasumbalesa border have been raised by residents and truck drivers travelling between Zambia and the DRC.
The truck drivers have complained about increased crime and they say the border has become dangerous for them.
A fortnight ago, a Zambian truck driver was killed by a Congolese police officer after he allegedly refused to pay a US$10 (K55) bribe.
Four truckers’ trade associations have threatened to stop transporting freight into the DRC if the security of drivers, their crew, vehicles and consignment is not assured.
Their concerns come in the wake of security tension at the border following the killing of two drivers within a week.
The Copperbelt Open Truckers Association, Federation of Haulers, Petroleum Transporters Association of Zambia and Truckers Association of Zambia are “gravely” concerned about insecurity.
Kasumbalesa is a major transit route for goods in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), handling an average of 500 to 600 trucks per day, followed by Nakonde and Chirundu, respectively.
The Zambia Revenue Authority collected K395 million against a target of K260 million in 2012, which translated into a 52.09 percent increment in revenue collection.
ZRA collected K276 million in the first quarter of 2013 against a set target of K203 million in comparison to the K178 million which was collected during the first quarter of 2012 and translated into a 35.07 percent revenue collection increment between the first half of 2012 and that of 2013.
Meanwhile, Dr Simbyakula said Government is considering relocating Zambians living on the border with the DRC at Kasumbalesa to guarantee their safety.
Dr Simbyakula said that the decision would end the continued harassment of citizens by their Congolese counterparts.
He was speaking in Kasumbalesa when he addressed officers and drivers operating at the border post when it was learned that some houses for Zambians are about 50 metres from the border line.
According to a statement by Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson Moses Suwali, Dr Simbyakula urged Copperbelt permanent secretary Stanford Msichili to quickly engage the local authority to find alternative land for the affected people.
He said Government is also considering building a 10km fence on the eastern and the western parts of the Kasumbalesa border post.
Dr Simbyakula advised the Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani to consider deploying an additional platoon of police officers to enhance security in Bilanga area.
“We regret very much the shooting incident and the continued harassment of people at Kasumbalesa and as Government we will ensure that security is enhanced,” he said.