Five soldiers and two police officers who were on duty manning the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border were Wednesday brought to court in Mutare for allegedly kidnapping a Mozambican police officer and criminal abuse of office.
The Mozambican police officer had allegedly foiled their ploy to smuggle bales of clothes into Zimbabwe.
The five — Pretty Ndlovhu (23), John Gwatura (33), Xolisile Ndlovhu (29), Glever Mutinidzo (33), Jasper Ndlovhu (30) and Sylvester Mikazhi (28) — appeared before Mutare magistrate Noah Gwatidzo yesterday, charged with abducting Superintendent Jose Franciso Amoda and criminal abuse of office.
In the State case led by chief law officer Michael Mugabe, the accused tried to smuggle 111 bales of second-hand clothes on June 29 at Chatora Farm in Burma Valley along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border.
Mugabe told the court that the accused, being members of the uniformed forces deployed on border patrol to guard against smuggling of second-hand clothes into the country, allowed the bales to get into Zimbabwe through an illegal crossing point.
On the second count, the officers are alleged to have kidnapped the Mozambican officer who was trailing the truck carrying the consignment.
The State alleges that Mozambican authorities wanted to arrest the truck driver and impound the truck after establishing that it was evading the proper crossing procedures.
The court heard that near Chatora Farm, the accused obstructed the arrest of the truck driver and then kidnapped Amoda, the leader of the Mozambican police team.
Only Mutinidzo who handed himself in, was granted $50 bail.
The State opposed bail for the rest of the accused, arguing they were not suitable candidates for bail and were likely to abscond. The five are expected back in court on July 18 when a trial date will be provided.