POLICE have intercepted a truck carrying more than 800 bags of mealie meal destined for neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Both Copperbelt Minister Bowman Lusambo and police commission Charity Katanga confirmed the development in seperate interviews.
Ms Katanga said there has been alot of incidences of smuggling in the province with the perpetrators now using other routes other than Kasumbalesa border where the issue of smuggling is rampant.
She said the smugglers have devised new routes at Sakania border, Mufulira, and Maria Chimona where the Volvo truck registration number ABF 954 belonging to a Somali national was intercepted.
Ms Katanga said five people were apprehended in connection with the smuggling of mealie meal and the driver has since been released while four are still in police custody.
She named the suspects as Evans Kaku, 50, of Kenya compound in Lubumbashi DRC,a Congolese national, Isaac Phiri, 25, of house C 105 in Chililabombwe, Mutambala Dick Kaunda, 53, of house no 450/6 old Kanyama in Lusaka and Anthony John, 36, of Ndeke Compund in Ndola a Swati national.
“This issue of smuggling is becoming an issue. Last week police impounded 500 bags of mealie meal after a truck was abandoned in the same area, Maria chimona. Ndola has a lot of inlets and outlets into DRC. There is Lonshi mine under Chief Chiwala which is quite wide, Sakania border ,palm groove,21 and 14 miles and seven miles and Mulundu area also are leading to DRC,” she said.
Ms Katanga said the 500 bags were disposed off by the court and further warned people involved in smuggling that police are on high alert to ensure perpetrators are brought to book.
And Mr Lusambo said if not quickly addressed the rampant smuggling of mealie meal to neighbouring countries could affect food security in the country.