Mozambican woman, baby drown in Limpopo River

22 Apr, 2022 - 10:04 0 Views
Mozambican woman, baby drown in Limpopo River

The Herald

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

A Mozambican woman and her 11-month-old daughter drowned in the Limpopo River on Thursday morning when a wood raft they were using to cross the river from South Africa, capsized 3km west of the Beitbridge Border Post.

Three other people who were helping them illegally cross the border managed to swim to the Zimbabwean side of the river at around 4 am.


A 54-year-old-man from Beitbridge who had been engaged by the woman alerted the police soon after getting to the river banks.


National police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident yesterday.


He said the Sub Aqua unit had been summoned to the scene.


“As the police, we confirm that a female Mozambican national and her 11-month-old daughter drowned in the Limpopo River today, after a boat they were using to illegally cross from the border from South Africa capsized,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.


“However, we cannot publish their particulars at this stage before we engage the relevant Ministry to engage their Embassy in Zimbabwe”.


He said the boat was carrying five people including two boat crew members and the man who was assisting them to jump the border.


Asst Comm Nyathi said the wooden raft was also loaded with 13 vehicle tyres.


The two unknown boat crew members reportedly vanished from the scene after the incident.


“Initial efforts to locate the missing persons were made but to no avail. The two men who were controlling the boat were not found as they had fled the scene together with the owner of the boat,” said the senior police officer.


By the end of the day yesterday, the Bulawayo based (Fairbridge) Sub-Aqua Unit was yet to arrive in the border town.


The development comes a day after members of the National security Task Force (NTF) that is deployed to combat crime at the border with South Africa burnt another makeshift wood raft that was used to smuggle people and goods between the two countries.


So far, the NTF has destroyed close to 10 such rafts along the Limpopo River and seized several inflatable boats, since the start of the rain season.


The Herald is reliably informed that the wood rafts are manufactured in the water using wood, plastic containers, old refrigerators panels, and old tyres.


The crew members charge R50 per person during “off-peak” and R100 at “peak” periods. The price for loading goods varies depending on their nature and quantities.


The crew members use ropes to marshal the wood rafts across the Limpopo River.

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