Kawana warns mealie-meal smugglers “days are numbered”after shooting incident

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MINISTRY Information and Media permanent secretary Thabo Kawana has issued a stern warning to mealie-meal smugglers after a violent incident in Kasumbalesa’s Lubansa area.

A smuggler, attempting to disarm a Zambia National Service (ZNS) troop, was shot in the thigh during a confrontation.

The smuggler was part of a group trying to transport 70 bags of mealie-meal into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kawana, speaking at the scene, stressed that such actions would not be tolerated.

“The attempt by the smuggler to disarm a ZNS troop is not only very dangerous but inimical to the development of this country. He is lucky to be alive; this is a very serious criminal offence,” he said.

Colonel Mable Mulenga Nyone of the ZNS explained that the smuggler used a Toyota Corolla and a Noah bus to bypass the ZNS barrier.

When the Noah was stopped, the Corolla returned, and a smuggler tried to grab an officer’s firearm, leading to the shooting.

Nyone highlighted the sophisticated tactics used by smugglers, including employing underage children to purchase and repackage mealie-meal.

“They are luring underage children with a K30 to buy Eagles branded mealie-meal on their behalf and later repackage the commodity in different brands and smuggling it out of the country, which is very unfortunate,” said Nyone.

Kawana urged stores to be vigilant and prevent minors from being exploited by smugglers.

Shoprite Branch Manager Evans Mubanga confirmed that measures are in place to prevent such activities.

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba, May 20, 2024

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