Army equipment smugglers nabbed at border
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.