Army equip­ment smug­glers nabbed at bor­der

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Whins­ley Masara

FOUR men have been ar­rested at Mpho­engs Bor­der Post in Mangwe Dis­trict af­ter they al­legedly tried to smug­gle cam­ou­flage uni­forms and mil­i­tary equip­ment into the coun­try.

Sources at the bor­der post said the men are sus­pected to be part of a group that takes ad­van­tage of civil dis­tur­bances to as­sault civil­ians while wear­ing se­cu­rity forces’ uni­forms. They were ar­rested on Sun­day at around 9PM. Steven­son Boshoff (52) of Gweru, who claimed to be em­ployed at Sa­fari De in Mozam­bique, was ar­rested with Karl Lan­drey (27) from Harare, Love­more Dami­ano (48) of Chi­tung­wiza and Cephas Telele (47) of Chiredzi.

They were found with 22 com­bat sets of trousers and shirts, 20 khaki green­ish back packs, green wa­ter bot­tles with cam­ou­flage hold­ers and jun­gle caps.

A source at the bor­der said Boshoff and Lan­drey first at­tempted to cross the bor­der into Zim­babwe on Tues­day last week.

“The men drove two South African reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles. They were de­nied en­try as they were Zim­bab­wean res­i­dents driv­ing for­eign reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles,” said aid the source.

The source said they showed up again on Sun­day night, this time in the com­pany of two oth­er­her Zim­bab­weans, Dami­ano and Telele.

“Telele and Dami­ano had Southh African work per­mits. The team de­clared the above bove men­tioned mil­i­tary ma­te­rial and claimed to be in tran­sit to Mozam­bique,” said the source.

“Po­lice got a tip off from Zimra of­fi­cials ffi­cials lead­ing to their ar­rest for un­law­ful pos­ses­siones­sion of mil­i­tary cam­ou­flage uni­forms.”

A source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions ns said Boshoff was the leader of the team.

“The man who claimed to be em­ployed­ployed at Sa­fari De in Mozam­bique told in­ves­ti­ga­tors his boss in­structed himm to col­lect mil­i­tary ma­te­rial to be taken n to Mozam­bique,” said the source.

The source said Boshoff said the ma­te­rial was in­tended to be used at sa­faris by game rangers.

“They said they pre­ferred Mpho­engs engs bor­der post, claim­ing it was the short­estortest route to Mozam­bique. This was highly y sus­pi­cious as trav­el­ling via Beit­bridge andd through to Harare into Mozam­biqueM is far shorter,” the source said. As source close­clo to in­ves­ti­ga­tions said Boshoff, upon re­al­is­ing he had b been caught in a lie, changed his story and claimed that he had opted to use Botswana as he had passed through vis­it­ing rel­a­tives in that coun­try and also in­tended to see some peo­ple in Bu­l­awayo. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said the eva­sive­ness of the sus­pects raised sus­pi­cion. “The “Their pref­er­ence of Zim­bab­wean driv­ers and t the se­lec­tion of Kanyemba Bor­der post as th their port of exit made it easy to sus­pect themr the ma­te­rial was des­tined for Zim­babwe. It might have been in­tended for use dur­ing ri­ots,” said a source. Na­tional po­lice spokesper­son Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Ny­athi said he was n not aware of the ar­rests. “I ha haven’t re­ceived a re­port of that na­ture yet and would rather re­fer you to the po­lice spokesp spokesper­son of Mata­bele­land South Prov­ince,” he said. The p provin­cial po­lice spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Philisani Nde­bele,N was not reach­able on his mo­bile phone. -@w -@win­nie_­masara.

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