Video: The car of a Zambian fuel smuggler burning at the Engen Service Station in Katima Mulilo. Footage: Contributed
HUNDREDS of residents of Katima Mulilo looked on as the vehicle of a fuel smuggler from Zambia burned to ashes on the forecourt of an Engen Service Station in the border town.
According to the Zambezi Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Evans Simasiku, the incident occurred after a Zambian national came across the river with the intent to fill up his vehicle and several containers with fuel.
“The person from Zambia had filled at least seven containers that was stacked inside the vehicle as well as the car with fuel and was about to depart back to Zambia when one of the containers caught fire.”
According to Deputy Commissioner Simasiku, fire quickly spread to the rest of the vehicle destroying it and all the extra fuel containers in the car.
He said members of the Katima Mulilo Fire Brigade managed to extinguish the blaze quite quickly. The fast and efficient action of the fire brigade prevented the service station itself from going up in flames
“In the process the car and its entire content was burned to ashes. One of the pump points at the Engen Service Station was also damaged in the blaze but other than that no other damage was reported.
Deputy Commissioner Simasiku said neither the Zambian driver nor any other person was injured or killed during the incident that left the community of Katima Mulilo in shock.
With regards to the ongoing problem of cross border fuel smuggling and sale of the contraband on the black market in Zambia, Deputy Commissioner Simasiku said that the police have requested the communities on both sides on the river to seize their activities because of the high danger element.
“Desite our many warnings on the local radio station, people still persist with the illegal activity and today’s incident is more often than not the result because the fuel is not stored and transported according to regulations.”