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Zim court to decide fate of Botswana officers on Monday

Staff Writer
A Zimbabwean magistrate has reserved judgement in a case in which three Batswana wildlife officers are charged with illegally entering the country with firearms.

After a three-day trial and the testimony of three state witnesses, a magistrate in the Zimbabwean tourist resort of Victoria Falls said he will deliver the verdict on Monday.

"It means another weekend in jail for the three officers. They are wearing prison uniforms as we speak...," said frustrated Botswana Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gladys Kokorwe.

The envoy stated that she was waiting for a full report from her officer in Victoria Falls and the attorney who represented the three.

She  said that her attempts to talk to government officials to resolve the matter diplomatically hit a snag when they said that they did not want to interfere with the judiciary.

The three officers were arrested three weeks ago after crossing into Zimbabwe by mistake while tracking a lion that had

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terrorised residents of Lesoma village in the Kazungula area. There is no borderline between the two countries.

The border demarcation is a road that is known to people who are familiar with the area. The three officers are said to be new in the area.

The Botswana Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phandu Skelemani revealed that he had tried to discuss the matter with the Zimbabwe Ambassador to Botswana but nothing much was achieved.

He tried to call the Zimbabwe Foreign Minister but was told that he was too busy. He indicated that he was going to discuss the matter with the minister at the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa. Skelemani returned yesterday but could not be reached for comment at time of going to press.

 



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