By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
At least 23 minors who were being smuggled into South Africa through Beitbridge Border Post have been put under the custody of the Social Welfare Department where they are undergoing Covid-19 screening and testing while police are in the process of identifying their parents.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police have arrested 275 people at Beitbridge Border Post who were trying to cross into South Africa without any valid travel documents during an intensified police operation during the festive season.
Asst Comm Nyathi said of the people intercepted by police 23 were minors and have been taken into the custody of the Social Welfare Department while their parents were being identified after the suspects who have also been arrested were intercepted while trying to smuggle the children into neighbouring South Africa.
He said police were investigating the case to establish whether it was human trafficking or not.
“In other police operations, 275 people were arrested while trying to cross into South Africa without any valid travel documents at Beitbridge Border Post. Of these 23 were minors and they are now in the Social Welfare Department’s custody.
They have since commenced the Covid-19 screening process and the identification of their parents is also underway.
The ZRP is firm on the ground to ensure that citizens and visitors alike enjoy a crime and accident-free environment.
We are still investigating the case,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said there were murder cases some of which were gruesome that were recorded during the festive season.
He said in one of the murder incidents a man from Mwenezi killed and cut off his six-year-old niece’s private parts before setting the body on fire.
“During the same period, cases of murder emanating from beer drinking binges were also recorded. On December 31, 2020, at Thelela Nyoni’s shop in Filabusi a 25-year-old man was fatally stabbed with an okapi knife following a misunderstanding.
“On the same day a 41-year-old man was fatally stabbed on the chest with a knife after a misunderstanding over a girlfriend in Beitbridge. In Filabusi again a 49-year-old man was fatally stabbed with a knife on December 16 and later succumbed to the injuries on December 30.
In an unrelated incident on December 29, 2020, in Mwenezi, a six-year-old girl was fatally assaulted with a switch by her uncle after she had lost cattle while herding them in the company of another minor. In a bid to conceal the crime the suspect and his accomplice cut off the girl’s private parts and set the body on fire. The two were arrested following a tip-off by members of the public,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police have arrested 2 321 people for violating lockdown measures throughout the country on New Year’s Day.
“It appears members of the public are taking Covid-19 for granted and are no longer taking precautionary measures. We are aware of the incident of an alleged unsanctioned gathering in Mbare on New Year’s Eve and investigations have been instituted.
“So far 52 people have been arrested and we are looking for DJ Fantan who operates a recording studio at Block 14 Matapi Flats and David House Entertainment operators for openly defying Government’s Covid-19 measures on health, safety and security. The police officers who were allegedly on the ground have been asked to shed more light on what actually transpired.
“In Watsomba, Mutare police have arrested a local businessman who hired musician Alick Macheso to perform at a family event at the growth point in violation of the national lockdown measures,” he said. The Sunday News