From George Maponga in Masvingo
The country is safe from incursions by RENAMO bandits from Mozambique despite sporadic attacks between that country’s Government forces and the rebels, the Zimbabwe National Army has said. There were fears that rebel RENAMO bandits under the leadership of Mr Afonso Dlakama, would pose a security threat in communities in Manicaland that border with Mozambique.

However, ZNA Chief of Staff General Staff responsible for Operations and Training Major General Trust Mugoba at the weekend, said that Zimbabwe was safe from the RENAMO threat.

Maj-Gen Mugoba said the country’s security forces were closely monitoring the situation in Mozambique where feuding parties signed a ceasefire.

He said ZNA was going to beef up personnel on the country’s border with Mozambique to curb cross border crime.

“We are beefing our forces to increase border patrols that we carry together with members of the ZRP so that we stop cross-border smuggling that is rampant along our border with Mozambique,’’ he said.

“We observed that there is rampant smuggling of illicit drinks that are used to make liquor together with second hand clothing,’’ he said.

Maj-Gen Mugoba said they also wanted to reduce cross-border cattle rustling either by criminal gangs from Mozambique or gangs from that country working in conjunction with their local counterparts.

“There is a ceasefire that is being observed in Mozambique at the moment between the Government and rebels and we are closely monitoring the situation, but we have not had a situation where Mozambican rebels have made incursions into our country,’’ he said.

“The only Mozambicans that we have in our country at the moment are refugees numbering about 860 who fled conflict in their country and are housed at Tongogara Refugee Camp,’’ he added.

Maj-Gen Mugoba said there were increasing cases of smuggling through an area about 10kms north of Sango Border Post and the Corner Store area along the border.

Smugglers were also using the recently de-mined area near Crooks Corner in southern Chikombedzi to illegally bring various items into the country.

Maj-Gen Mugoba said there was also an urgent need for the Surveyor-General’s Office to restore border markings that clearly demarcated the official border between Zimbabwe and its eastern neighbour.

“There are no longer any visible pegs that demarcate the border between us and Mozambique and this has been creating some problems because the border between our two countries is not clear in some areas and the local office of the Surveyor-General should work on that together with their counterparts from Mozambique to solve this problem,’’ said Maj- Gen Mugoba.

Cross-border smuggling is rampant along Zimbabwe’s porous border with Mozambique with smugglers bringing into the country cheap second hand clothing and illicit drinks such as brochili.

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