By JERRY MUNTHALI
COPPERBELT Minister John Kufuna is concerned that the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has encroached on Zambia’s no-man’s land and built two security booths to service its new border facility at Kasumbalesa.
And the Chililabombwe District Joint Operations Committee (DJOC) comprising defence and security wings, has raised security concerns over the DRC’s move to build two security booths on Zambian soil because the area is likely to be taken over by that country’s soldiers and policemen who patrol it.
Speaking when he toured the new state-of-the art Kasumbalesa border facility on Monday afternoon, Mr Kufuna said there is a security concern because the DRC has allegedly encroached on Zambia’s no man’s land.
“I cannot comment further but all I can say for now is that Government has set up a committee to look into the matter,” Mr Kufuna said
He, however, described the new Kasumbalesa border post as a good initiative but that there are concerns arising from the fact that the investor, Zambia IP Border Crossing Company (ZIPBCC), went ahead to construct the border without consulting the Chililabombwe Municipal Council.
“I am happy that they have started legalising whatever was not done before but it is a marvelous facility. I remember long ago in the late 1990s, this place was all bush but now you can think that you are in Lusaka,” Mr Kufuna said.
He also took ZIPBCC operations manager Alon Alperoitz to task on why his company has built two security booths belonging to DRC on Zambian soil.
Mr Kufuna directed Chililabombwe district commissioner Stephen Lindunda to meet ZIPBCC management to resolve the matter.
And the Chililabombwe DJOC has raised security concerns over DRC’s decision to build two security booths on Zambia’s side of no-man’s land.
Immigration department officer-in-charge Miriam Chiyabi said there is a security concern because soldiers and police officers from DRC patrol the area.
She said with time, the DRC security wings will take over Zambia’s side of no-man’s land.