By Judge Jarachara
More than 2 500 people have been arrested for various offences following the deployment of a crack team of security forces to Beitbridge early last month to curb smuggling and other illegal activities.
The team comprising members of the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) was on January 5, deployed to identified areas where smuggling and other criminal activities were rampant.
The deployment followed a visit by State Security Minister Owen Ncube and senior members of the Joint Operations Command.
The team has registered some successes in curbing smuggling and border jumping through intercepting smuggled goods and arresting offenders.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the operation is not going to end any time soon and it is not confined to Beitbridge alone but is targeting all points of entry.
“Since the start of the operation 26 days ago, we have arrested 2 788 offenders consisting of border jumpers, smugglers, lockdown violators among other offenders in Beitbridge alone,” said the Asst Comm.
He said some of the arrested persons are made to pay fines while repeat offenders are taken to court.
“These offenders are fined and some are taken to court. As you know fines were recently revised by the relevant ministry,” said Asst Com Nyathi.
He said among those arrested was a Mlaudzi Bus crew which was arrested for pirating during lockdown. The driver and conductor of the bus were convicted and sentenced to eight months in prison.
The security team also apprehended Malawian citizens who wanted to illegally cross into South Africa and two of them tested positive to Covid-19. They were taken to court, quarantined and deported back to Malawi.
Asst Comm Nyathi urged people especially those who wish to export and import goods to follow customs exercise regulations.
He also said those who wish to cross the border should desist from using illegal crossing points as this exposes them to risks such as robbery, drowning and arrest. The Chronicle