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Another Zambian woman arrested in Ethopia for drug trafficking

(Lusaka Times) Another Zambian woman has been arrested in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for alleged drug trafficking.

Esther Banda 28, was arrested by Ethiopian Immigration authorities on March 29, 2014.

First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian Mission in Ethiopia, Dorcas Chileshe has confirmed the development in a press statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today.

Ms. Chileshe said her office was only informed about the arrest of the woman in question after six weeks.

She said Banda was arrested at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa on arrival from Brazil enroute to Lilongwe, Malawi.

She said Banda is reported to have swallowed a half kilogram of cocaine which she was given by her male friend of Nigerian origin based in Brazil who promised to pay her K1.2 million Malawian Kwacha (about U$$3,200) on arrival in Lilongwe.

Ms. Banda is currently under custody at Kality Prison in Addis Ababa and she will appear in court on May 29, 2014 for judgment.

According to the Zambian Envoy, Ms. Banda disclosed to an Embassy official who visited her at prison that she agreed to travel to Brazil after her male friend promised to help her start business of supplying Brazilian hair but later forced her to swallow cocaine.

In Ethiopia, a drug trafficking offense carries a minimum jail sentence of 10 years.

Four years ago in 2010, a Zambian woman aged 32 was arrested for the same offence in the Horn of Africa after immigration authorities detected the cocaine in her stomach at Bole International airport.

Zambian Ambassador to Ethiopia Susan Sikaneta has appealed to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) in Zambia to collaborate with the Ministry of Gender as well as the church in sensitizing women to beware of men pretending to help them start businesses by sending them abroad.

Ms. Sikaneta said many Zambian women have ended up in jail in foreign countries after being used by men who promise to help them become rich through trading illegal businesses.

Ms. Sikaneta also appealed to DEC officials to consider travelling to Ethiopia to discuss with the immigration authorities on how best they could collaborate to ensure that the arrest is extended to people who wait to receive the drugs at the point of destination.

She observed that as long as the men who are pushing the Zambian women into drug trafficking are not arrested, drug trafficking would continue to increase.

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