Home South African Spike in people smuggling beer, whisky into Namibia despite coronavirus crackdown

Spike in people smuggling beer, whisky into Namibia despite coronavirus crackdown

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The alcohol is being smuggled from neighbouring Angola and Zambia, using illegal border crossings to beat a ban on alcohol sales.

Windhoek – Namibian police reported a jump in people smuggling beer and whisky from

neighbouring Angola and Zambia on Tuesday, using illegal border crossings

to beat a ban on alcohol sales that is part of the country’s

plan to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The African nation has, like a number of other

countries, matched restrictions on movement with curbs on booze

as a means of enforcing social distancing – a strategy

challenged by some experts and unpopular with many citizens.

Namibia has so far seen 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus,

with no deaths. Under lockdown laws, only the sale of liquor

with an alcohol content of 3% or less is permitted.

Police spokesman Linekeela Shikongo told local media there

had been an “overwhelming increase” in the sale of Angolan beer

in northern Namibia, while the Zambezi region in the north-east

had seen a steep rise in spirits smuggled from Zambia.

Sparsely populated Namibia is one of Africa’s biggest

countries by land mass, sharing its largely porous borders with

South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.

Namibia is also one of the top-10 beer consumers globally

per capita.

“So far we have arrested a number of them and a number of

bottles were confiscated,” Zambezi police commander Karel

Theron said of the smugglers.

He added “a number of illegal immigrants” were arrested, but

later released, due to the lack of space in police cells.

“We’re having accommodation problems for the inmates. We

cannot accommodate all of them,” the police commander said.

Namibia, like South Africa, has been under lockdown since

March 27, with only workers in essential services allowed to

travel. 

But in Zambia, only Kafue, a town in south-central

Zambia and its surrounds, is in a total lockdown. 

Reuters