Suspected Renamo bandits hit Chiredzi

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CHIREDZI residents are having sleepless nights as cross border thieves suspected to be Mozambique’s Renamo bandits are stealing their cattle and cars at night, a sugarcane workers representative body has said.

TATENDA CHITAGU
OWN CORRESPONDENT

Speaking after donating motorbikes, generators, laptops, printers and office equipment worth $30 000 to the Chiredzi Central Police Station yesterday, the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers’ Union (ZISMIWU) secretary-general Admore Hwarare said the Renamo bandits were taking advantage of the porous borders to steal villagers’ cattle and hijack vehicles.

“The Matsanga (Renamo) rebels are stealing cattle from farmers in Chikombedzi and other places near the border and they travel back to their country at night,” said Hwarare.

“Farmers are having problems and the police’s reaction is slow as some of the police posts in the remote areas are ill-equipped.

“The problem is not confined to farmers alone. The bandits also target mainly residents’ pick-up trucks as they escape using rugged terrain, hence the donation of motorbikes so that the chase will at least be easier.

We are strengthening their policing efforts in the collective fight against crime,” Hwarare said.

However, the officer commanding Chiredzi district Chief Superintendent Engelbert Wilson denied that Mozambican nationals were to blame for the cattle rustling and carjackings, saying they were yet to verify the identity of the criminals.

“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.

Wilson said there were bilateral and trilateral systems put in place to deal with cross border crime.

“There are systems in place to deal with that and we also meet frequently with our counterparts from Mozambique and South Africa to combat cross-border crime,” he said.

Wilson pledged to put the donations by ZISMIWU to good use saying the equipment would go a long way in strengthening their policing efforts.

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