After being discovered providing an unauthorized escort to mealie meal smugglers who were attempting to smuggle the product into Congo, four armed troops of the Zambian Army were assaulted.
The soldiers are accused of pocketing K10,000 each in a plot involving more than 1,000 bags of mealie meal to provide an escort for the trucks crossing one of the borders in Ndola into the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to Copperbelt police commanding officer Peacewell Mweemba, the incident took place on Tuesday.
While the troops have not yet been named, Mr. Mweemba reported that four further people have been detained.
“Brief facts of the matter are that an Army officer, on Tuesday, April 25th around 23:00 hours whilst on duty doing motorized patrols in ZAFFICO Kawama Plantation of Ndola, came across the said two containerised trucks laden with mealie meal which were being escorted by four soldiers who were armed with guns, whose details are not yet known.
“The same soldiers were beaten by the patrol team. However, the four soldiers who escorted the trucks in question were not brought to Chifubu police station apart from the stated drivers and three men found in the vehicles,” he said.
Lengwe Bwalya, age 30, Abel Mulopa, Samuel Kalaba, age 36, Evans Saili, age 34, and Denise Musonda are the individuals detained.
According to the senior cop for Copperbelt, five suspects stated that they were being escorted by the four troops and that their objective was the border with Congo DR.
“It is estimated that there are about 200 to 250 by 25 kilograms bags of mealie meal on the light truck and the Volvo truck has about 750 to 800 by 25 kgs bags of mealie meal. However, it should be noted that the correct number of bags will be known as soon as the counting is done in the presence of the suspects. The suspects will appear in court soon while the process of disposing of the mealie meal by the court is underway,” Mr Mweemba said.