Malawi deployed armed soldiers on Friday to escort fuel deliveries after a sit-in by truckers caused shortages at gas stations across the country.
As of Thursday morning, most gas stations in the country’s capital, Lilongwe, ran out of fuel, causing motorists to panic.
Malawi imports its fuel from ports in neighboring Tanzania and Mozambique. The military said soldiers are now accompanying tankers from border posts to depots and then to gas stations.
The military “calls on members of the general public to avoid interfering with the operation,” the military said in a statement.
âThe Malawi Defense Force will continue the exercise until the situation normalizes. “
Tanker drivers have been on strike since Wednesday and gas stations quickly dried up.
Government spokesman Gospel Kazako said truckers wanted better wages and reduced fees for passports and Covid tests required to cross the border.
âWhat is most worrying is that some drivers engage in violence against other drivers, which is criminal. We ask the drivers to comply with the laws as they continue to organize their strike, âhe said.
Kazako urged the striking truckers not to block the roads.
The government recently raised the minimum wage for truckers to 140,000 kwacha ($ 170) per month, but drivers say companies have yet to increase their wages.