The escalating cross border crime in villages situated along Botswana and Zimbabwe borders is said to be causing tensions between the two nations.
Member of Parliament for Tati East, Samson Moyo Guma made this assertion, at a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting. Guma, who is also a member of the PAC, pleaded for Botswana Defence Force’s (BDF) intervention.
He said the country is in a serious trouble and security’s commitment along the border is very minimal.
“Drugs are smuggled easily into the country. The border fence is dilapidated and there are no patrols to tighten the security between the two nations. We are sitting on a time bomb, how can BDF assist before the situation gets out of control. The influx of illegal immigrants has irked villages resulting in tensions between the two countries. When did the army intervene to help in such a situation?” said Moyo.
He said cross border crime that occurs in villages along the border is a serious threat that needs to be addressed urgently.
Botswana shares a long borderline with Zimbabwe that stretches from Maitengwe to Bobonong. He said for years villages located along the border have been living in terror of cross border criminals who steal their property and take it to Zimbabwe.
“Livestock cross freely amongst the two nations but sadly most of the times local farmers struggle to locate their livestock after crossing that side. Incidents of house breaking, burglary to mention but a few remain high,” said Moyo.
“Locals are attacked in the comfort of their homes and their valuables taken from them. I am pleading for help because residents in those villages are
When commenting, BDF commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo said they operate on a small scale but with a vast area to cover. However, Segokgo said he appreciated that crime in the concerned areas has increased and become an issue of security calling for their intervention.
“As BDF we do deploy our workforce on active patrols across the country particularly within our borders, but you should appreciate that their numbers are not enough,” said Segokgo. “We do not have the manpower to be at every point at anytime, but we do rotate the manpower amongst those areas but sadly it appears that they monitor their movements. We are also considering the use of technology to facilitate at particular zones.”
He explained that they have and still continue to work with the police and other ministries in fighting issues affecting the two countries.
The army commander also praised Zimbabwean forces for their commitment in addressing poaching, something that has contributed positively to curbing what was becoming a crisis between the two countries.
For years, the police have been saying although they ensure that illegal immigrants are deported, desperate Zimbabweans continue to find their way back into the country.
To arrest the situation, the Dikgosi of villages along the border, have in the past, met with their Zimbabwean counterparts but that seems not to be bearing fruits.