By G9ija

THE police in the Omusati region have raised concerns about an increase in the smuggling of fuel from Angola across the border into Namibia.

On Tuesday morning, police officers at the Ombaye border post caught two men who are said to be from the village Odimbwa driving a pickup vehicle carrying 14 empty fuel containers.

“They were in the process of going to load the containers onto a motorcycle parked along the border line on the Angolan side,” said the police’s crime investigations coordinator in the Omusati region, deputy commissioner Moses Simaho. “We confiscated the containers, which we handed over along with the men to customs officials at the Kasamane border post and the men were each given a fine of N$6 000,” he said.

Simaho said incidents of this nature have become a headache for the region and continue despite police efforts to curb the illegal smuggling of fuel by setting up intense border patrols.

He said another vehicle, intercepted at Okapika border post on Monday night, was found to be loaded with four 25-litre containers with fuel.

The driver fled the scene, abandoning his vehicle, but surrendered himself to law enforcement officers on Tuesday morning, Simaho said. He added that a criminal case was registered against the driver and he has to appear in court.

According to current laws only licensed wholesalers are allowed to import fuel into the country and only licensed retailers are allowed to resell fuel.

“Fuel smuggled into the country also does not meet specific requirements prescribed for all types of vehicles and this can cause long-term damage to vehicles,” he said.