Zambezi police regional commander Karel Theron says the illegal crossing of borders by Zambian nationals continue to haunt the law enforcement due to the vast and unfenced borderlines in the region.
Some Zambian nationals continue to illegally cross into Namibia in search of food and other goods despite the national lockdown regulations put in place to combat Covid-19.
In a busy border district, most residents of Sesheke and neighbouring Mwandi district journey to Katima Mulilo to buy groceries and other necessities because there is no departmental store in the two areas.
“This has not changed. Zambians still come into Namibia illegally crossing the river and the borderlines because there is no fence. The police cannot patrol the whole borderline every day. The borderline is so long, measuring over 120 km,” Theron said.
To make matters worse, he said many of these Zambians coming in illegally are being employed by Namibians as labourers. “People report but these illegal immigrants run back to Zambia. We can see there is some improvement and the police will continue patrolling the borderlines to see how we can prevent these illegal activities. Sometimes we arrest them but at times we tell them to go back because our holding facilities are limited. We cannot overcrowd our holding facilities,” he noted.
According to him, the police confiscate contraband goods being smuggled into Zambia.
“How can a Zambian come here and transport more than 15 to 20 drums of petrol to Zambia from Katima Mulilo? It’s Namibians who are assisting them to transport these goods. As long as Namibians are not stopping, these illegal activities will continue,” he said. Theron noted the police have engaged regional councillors to educate their people not to assist these Zambian nationals cross into Namibia. In terms of Covid-19 state of the emergency, Theron said people are not taking the government seriously in terms of lockdown regulations.
“We are not taking this Covid-19 seriously. We are fighting with the community to wear masks in public. We keep warning them but they don’t want to listen,” he maintained.
Concerning the sale of alcohol, he said shebeens and bar owners are adhering to the trading hours as stipulated in the regulations.