Freeman Razemba in Plumtree
Botswana Police Services has apologised to its Zimbabwean counterparts following reports that some of the former’s officers are not co-operating on investigating cross border stocktheft cases and other criminal activities.
This was revealed during a bilateral meeting here yesterday and attended by senior officers from the two countries as they exchanged notes on how to deal with cross border criminal activities.
Officer Commanding Matabeleland South Senior Assistant Commissioner Learn Ncube chronicled several cases on which their Batswana counterparts refused to co-operate in cross border policing.
This prompted Botswana Police Services Divisional Commander for North Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Dinah Marathe to offer an apology, saying she was not aware of these developments and that some of the cases were not brought to her attention.
“I am very sorry about that, in the cases in which they were denied entry into our country,” she said.
“As the regional commander, I was not informed on such cases and incidents. And next time if the officers are denied entry into our country as commanders we should be quickly informed,”
Addressing the officers, Snr Asst Comm Ncube highlighted that during investigations there was little or no co-operation from their counterparts across the border.
“Some of the challenges that we are facing are that there is sometimes little or no co-operation between police officers from the two countries, resulting in failure to recover exhibits and arrest accused persons,” he said.
He cited several cases, with one of them being on May 21 last year when five police officers from Madlambuzi Police Station went to Maitengwe Border Post with seven complainants to carry out a joint inquiry with members of Botswana Police Services.
Snr Asst Comm Ncube said after they arrived at the border post, there was no co-operation from their Batswana counterparts.
“Upon arrival at Maitengwe Border Post, Botswana, the delegation was denied access into Botswana,” he said. “No statements were recorded and no reference was given and they were told to report on the next day.
“On the next day, they found different police officers who did not entertain them.”
Snr Asst Comm Ncube said on another case, 46 cattle went missing on May 25 last year and the five owners — Gadzanani Dube, Linos Moyo, Anna Mpofu, Moslem Sibanda and Japhet Mvudla — discovered that a fence along the border had been cut to allow the cattle to cross into Botswana.
Three days later, they legally crossed into Botswana and reported the matter to Chief Samuzali of Botswana who then took them to the police.
“The report was not recorded and the scene was not attended. They were told to look for their cattle on their own,” Snr Asst Comm Ncube said.
He said on their way back they tried to make a report at Changate Police Station and Tutume Police Station, but no assistance was rendered by police officers in the neighbouring country.
Snr Asst Comm Ncube said a meeting was held at district level with Botswana Police at Masunga Police Station where the ZRP registered their concern.
“In such cases, we request cooperation from our counterparts on these reported cases at the earliest opportunity,” he said.