The riot started at about 10:30 hours and by 12:00 hours both the Zambian and Tanzanian customs gates remained closed. An eye witness at the border said the riot was started by Tanzanian nationals who sell various merchandise on top of the Tanzania Zambia Railways (TAZARA) tunnel on the Zambian side after police confiscated their goods.
Police had been trying to prevent people from trading on top of the tunnel. The irate traders started throwing stones and all sorts of missiles at the combined team of council and state police as workers at the clearing agencies near the area scampered for safety. Three new vehicles were damaged in the process before a reinforcement of police officers arrived on the scene. Heavily armed police officers have since been deployed to keep vigil at the scene.
Nakonde district commissioner Billy Silwimba said the closure of the border was temporary. Silwimba said normal business was expected to resume anytime soon and that the confusion had been addressed. Silwimba, who described the riotous behaviour of the Tanzanian nationals as unfortunate, said importers and the local people should not panic as the situation was now under control.