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Beitbridge border ‘deaths’ mystery

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MYSTERY surrounds the alleged discovery of 15 bodies of suspected Zimbabwean border jumpers in the Limpopo River last week as police authorities plead ignorance or refuse to comment about the whereabouts of the corpses.

NQOBANI NDLOVU
STAFF REPORTER

The officer commanding police in Beitbridge district Chief Superintendent Patrick Majuta last week announced the alleged discovery of the bodies.

He was quoted in the State media saying some of the corpses had missing limbs and were discovered in a cave on the eastern side of the old Limpopo Bridge near Beitbridge town’s peri-urban farm.

The bodies were reportedly taken to Musina government mortuary in South Africa.

“We have sent in our police details to South Africa with some relatives who claimed to have lost their loved ones to verify the actual number of people who drowned. We are also appealing to those with missing relatives to come forward for possible identification of the bodies,” Majuta was quoted saying.

However, South African Police Service Musina spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Roneo Otto denied the alleged discovery of such bodies.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson — under which Beitbridge falls — Inspector Philisani Ndebele was also quoted denying knowledge of the bodies.

National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi yesterday refused to comment about the issue and referred Southern Eye to Majuta.

Majuta declined to comment.

“I do not talk to people that I have never seen or that I do not know. It will be unprofessional on my behalf . . . I have to know you first before I grant you an interview,” he said.

Majuta was also quoted last week saying two bodies of the suspected border jumpers had been discovered earlier at different points along the Limpopo River during police patrols.

Zimbabweans and refugees without proper travel documents risk life and limb daily crossing the crocodile-infested Limpopo River in search of greener pastures in neighbouring South Africa.

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