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Protesting SADC drivers call for closure of Kasumbalesa border

 

THE protest by Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) truck drivers has entered day five, with them calling on the Zambian government to close the Kasumbalesa border post. And thousands of trucks are parked from Chililabombwe town to the border as the drivers vowed not to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo following the shooting of one of their colleagues, Jeff Zulu, in the DRC.

DRC Katanga Province governor Celistin Pande Kapopo and Copperbelt minister Bowman Lusambo, with the defence and security officers, held a closed door meeting at Kasumbalesa to resolve the impasse.

SADC Truck Drivers Association president Stanley Muluka said they would continue with their protests.

“There is a lot of lawlessness in DRC. We the drivers are not safe in DRC. We can be killed and attacked at any point. Again, we pay a lot of money to avoid being attacked. It is unfair to have three more pay points within DRC. We can be attacked and people can stop our trucks at any point. We are not safe. It is better the Zambian government closes this border,” Muluka said.

He said the Zambian authorities should improve the security of the drivers.

“Even here at Kasumbalesa, these guys (Congolese) can enter and do anything. A lot of our friends have been killed in Congo.  We need a solution to these challenges,” said Mukuka.

And business at Kasumbalesa border post has halted with the continued protests of the drivers.

The drivers demanded that the Zambia Army takes over the manning of the boarder.

“It will be better to have the Zambia army manning the security of the boarder. What is happening here is very sad and a security risk for Zambia. This border is so porous on the Zambian side. This government needs to step up security or things may go bad,” said Alex Chungu, a Zambian truck driver.

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