Attacks on Malawian trucks in Mozambique have increased with five trucks now burnt to ashes over the past week.
The vehicles attacked by armed forces include three loaded fuel tankers used by Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL) and two private cargo trucks.
The first incident was reported last Wednesday after a gang set ablaze a tanker carrying 36 000 litres before the burning of three more trucks—two fuel tankers and a dry-cargo truck Friday afternoon.
The other cargo truck was reportedly set on fire yesterday, according to Transporters Association 2016 Malawi chairperson Sameer Sulemani.
The attacks are targeting both foreign and local transporters plying on the Tete-Beira Highway route.
PIL general manager Enwell Kadango in an interview yesterday said the country has lost close to K70 million on the three burnt tankers.
“Each tanker carries between 30 000 and 35 000 litres of fuel and each truck of fuel is worth between K22 million and K23 million,” said Kadango.
Sulemani said the country was losing a lot due to the attacks and has urged government to quickly engage Mozambique on the matter.
“The situation has now turned into real war and we expect government to find a lasting solution because eventually transporters will withdrew their trucks and that will be a crisis,” he said.
However, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Rejoice Shumba said government would issue a report on its course of action once officials from the two countries discuss the issue.
Malawi imports and exports over 80 percent of produce and general merchandise through Beira, Mozambique’s biggest route to the Indian Ocean.
The route also brings to Malawi about 60 percent of fuel while the remainder comes through Dar es Salaam in Tanzania (30 percent) and 10 percent through Nacala also in Mozambique.
At least 12 000 Mozambicans have fled to Malawi seeking refuge because of the fighting.