Editor's Comment

We need to secure borders

THE death of three Ethiopians who were apparently being trafficked along with others to an unknown destination is a reminder that human trafficking is still rife and Zambia therefore should tighten its security at entry points countrywide.
The road traffic accident in which the three lives were lost comes barely two months after 19 Somalis suffocated in a Zambian-registered containerised truck on the Pedicle Road.
According to Northern Province commissioner of police Bonny Kapeso, the accident in which three people died and four were injured involved a Toyota Gaia and happened just four kilometres from the Mbala-Nakonde roundabout.
Police investigations revealed that the five-seater vehicle from Nakonde and headed for an unknown destination was excessively overloaded with 17 Ethiopians on board in a suspected human trafficking trip.
If it was not for this unfortunate event, would we have known that such an illegal activity was taking place right under our nose?
This raises questions of how many such trips have gone undetected.
In as much as we are an accommodating country, we cannot continue to allow illegal entries into our country as such compromise national security.
While we welcome Ethiopians and indeed other foreigners who want to visit our country or use it as a transit point to their destination, they should use legal channels for entry.
This is the only way we will ascertain as a country that we are not exposing our citizens to wrong elements capable of planting discord or indeed criminals who will end up terrorising them.
The continued cases of human trafficking is indeed worrying as it points to our porous borders.
This is why foreigners continue to enter our country without going through the immigration process.
For instance, for the case in which 19 Somalis suffocated, it took authorities from the Democratic Republic of Congo to intercept the containerised truck.
While there are a number of human trafficking cases intercepted by our local authorities, we also know that there are quite a number who escape their monitoring eye.
We therefore make an earnest appeal to the men and women charged with the responsibility to man our entry points to be more vigilant if we are to curb human trafficking.
Considering that national safety is what is at stake, we need to reinforce border security by deploying security personnel in areas which cannot be wholly covered by immigration officers because they are too wide.
Citizens also need to understand that they, too, have an obligation towards the sustained peace and safety of the nation.
We therefore urge citizens to also be more vigilant within their communities.
There’s need for Zambians to take interest in who their neighbours are and report any suspicious individuals or indeed activities in their communities to relevant authorities.
There is need for us as a country to develop a culture of patriotism such that we will be more concerned about what goes on around us.
It is unfortunate that there are people who would witness a wrong but do not care to report such to the security wings.
We need to safeguard our national security jealously because if wrong elements are allowed to enter our country at free will, we all could suffer the consequences.
Concerted efforts among all Zambians must be made if human trafficking is to be curbed.

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