CHIREDZI residents are reportedly having sleepless nights due to cross-border thieves suspected to be Renamo bandits from Mozambique who are engaging in cattle rustling and carjacking, it has been learnt.
Speaking at the handover of motorbikes, generators, laptops, printers and office equipment worth $30 000 to Chiredzi Central Police Station yesterday, Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (ZISMIWU) secretary-general Admore Hwarare expressed fear that most of the stolen cars and cattle might not be recovered.
“The Matsanga people are stealing cattle from farmers in Chikombedzi and other places near the border and they travel back to their country at night. Farmers are having problems and the police reaction is slow as some of the police posts in the remote areas are ill equipped,” he said.
“The problem is not confined to farmers alone . . . the criminals, whom we believe are Renamo bandits, also target mainly pick-up trucks from residents here and escape using rough terrain and inaccessible roads, hence the donation of motorbikes so that the chase by the detectives will be easier.
“We are strengthening their policing efforts in the collective fight against crime,” Hwarare said.
Officer Commanding Chiredzi district Chief Superintendent Engelbert Wilson, however, denied that Mozambican nationals were to blame, saying they have not yet verified the reports.
“Of course, cross-border crime is a cause for concern, but we do not have proof that the criminals are of Mozambican origin. Locals may be involved. We have not yet verified who is responsible,” he said.
He said there were bilateral and trilateral systems put in place to deal with cross-border crime.
“There are systems put in place to deal with that and we also meet frequently with our counterparts from Mozambique and South Africa to combat cross-border crimes,” he said.