Tanzanian police impound 30 trucks smuggling maize to Kenya 

ARUSHA, Tanzania, (Xinhua) — Tanzanian police on Tuesday intercepted and impounded 30 trucks loaded with tonnes of maize, destined for neighboring Kenya.

Hamisi Issah, Kilimanjaro Regional Police Commander said they have also arrested drivers of the trucks and believe there is a syndicate to externalize Tanzania’s maize. The seizure of the maize-loaded trucks came barely a day after Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa banned the exports of unprocessed food crops. Majaliwa was speaking at this year’s Eid al-Fitr celebration, in Moshi Municipality, northern Tanzania’s region of Kilimanjaro. He said the ban is meant to encourage investment in agro-processing industries. The regional police chief said that some of the trucks were intercepted near the Tanzania-Kenya border posts of Tarakea and Holili.

“This follows an operation carried out since Monday night and early Tuesday. The operation involves special team made by police and other security agencies,” he said, adding that last night they impounded eight trucks and on Tuesday morning other trucks were found while hidden into people’s farms. He said some of the trucks were found in a small town of Himo in Moshi Rural District of Kilimanjaro Region. “Some of the trucks were found when the traders were trying to transfer the maize bags to the mini-trucks so that it can be easy for them to smuggle the maize,” he said, adding that several people have been arrested in connection with the smuggling of the food crops.

Issah said that the two border posts of Tarakea and Holili are under tight security to ensure that Majaliwa’s order is observed. “We’re also investigating government’s officials such as police, customs officials in those border posts who are being involved in facilitating the smuggling of maize to the neighboring countries,” he said.  The official unveiled that some officials in the border posts are being accused of facilitating the smuggling of unprocessed food crops.So far, Tanzania has received a request from Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on relief food.