Zambian drivers call for evacuation from DRC

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 13:42:07 +0000


By Chikumbi Katebe

THE volatile political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has raised concern over the safety of Zambian truck drivers in that country who have demanded for their immediate evacuation.

The drivers, who sought anonymity, explained that most of their friends servicing the Congo-Zambia-South Africa route were forced to remain in Congo DR for several weeks on their tour of duty, which had become dangerous with the economic impasse the country was going through.

They charged that security was not assured in Congo DR with previous hostility against Zambian drivers, and some companies have instructed their drivers to park in Zambia and not cross into Congo DR until they were cleared to do so. “Our friends are not safe in Congo (DR). If you know any truck drivers who has gone into Congo, please inform them that they need to come back home.

“We know that Hakuna Matata (trucking company) and others have not yet confirmed to have instructed their drivers to secure the trucks in Congo and return home. And for those who have not yet crossed, to find parking in Zambia until the security situation is confirmed,” the driver said.

The drivers were commenting on the political tension in Congo DR following President Joseph Kabila’s decision to go for a third term amid public uproar and protests in support of his possible contender, Congolese businessman Moise Katumbi.

But Transporters Association of Zambia (TAZ) spokesperson Benson Tembo has assured the drivers of security as provided by the Congolese government for all bulk vehicle operators.

Mr Tembo said the political tension in that country had little or no influence on the truck service areas which were normally situated in low density areas away from highly populated areas.  “The most affected areas are Kasumbalesa and Lubumbashi, but our truckers are normally secured at the various mines they were servicing, and there is presence of heavy government security. There is nothing to worry about,” he said.

He said, in fact, most Zambian trucks have been parked at the Sabbort Trucks yard for security, in Congo’s Lualaba area.


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