Baboons are causing havoc at Chirundu One-Stop Border Post between Zimbabwe and Zambia, destroying travellers’ goods worth thousands of dollars and presenting one of the biggest challenges to authorities.
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority station manager at the post, Tichaona Phiri, told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion on Friday baboons came in their hundreds every day on the Zimbabwean side of
the border to either snatch or destroy luggage.
The committee had visited Chirundu One-Stop Border Post to assess the success of the concept, introduced in 2009 to enable free flow of imports and exports among the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African member states.
During the visit, hordes of baboons could be seen milling around, jumping from one truck to another and leaving the whole border area littered with their stool.
“Baboons are an issue that must be dealt with here because they destroy travellers’ goods. Sometimes they bite or clap people on their faces if they try to defend their property and they can snatch ladies’ handbags and even destroy cars as they search for food,” said Phiri.
“These baboons can smell maize on trucks and considering their huge numbers, it is very difficult to control them.”
Phiri told the committee the baboons came to the border area very early in the morning and tore sacks covering maize, leaving it exposed to rain.
“This is a national park area and that is why there are many baboons, but the problem is that they behave like human beings and are very good tricksters,” he added.
However, during the visit on the Zambian side, there was not a single baboon roving around their border.
According to Stembeni Takawira, Chirundu assistant regional immigration officer, baboons were a delicacy in Zambia, hence locals killed them as soon as they spotted them.