BY PRESTIGE MUNTANGA
The smuggling of liquor, cigarettes, bags of cement, and building materials through the Zambezi River into Binga has been on the rise, with police accused of facilitating the illegal activity.
Concerned communities along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River bordering the country with Zambia have called for the intensification of security patrols to curb the vice.
Smugglers were reported to be smuggling the items, most of them on high demand in the country.
Binga residents alleged that police assisted smugglers to cross the Zambezi River to the nearest Zambian town, where they buy their goods and smuggle them back into the country.
“Through assistance by the police officers, many people cross the mighty Zambezi River into the nearest towns in Zambia where they buy goods for resale in Binga and other towns like Hwange and Bulawayo,” a resident, Davis Mupande, said.
“Police officers’ cars help smugglers transport their goods from the shores of the river to their houses. Police have been involved in high smuggling deals, compromising their roles as security agents, who should protect the State from such corruption practices.”
Another resident who requested anonymity said police officers sometimes fought over the smugglers.
“The water transporters are also linked to the police for the swift movements in the water. At times, the police officers fight for clients (smugglers) to transport goods from the shores to inland,” he said.
“The key leading agents usually smuggle alcohol, mealie-meal, bales of clothes, cement, building materials and many other goods found in their shops.”
The source said one of the boats drowned two weeks ago while trying to cross the river.
“Recently, a rig sank while attempting to cross from Zambia to Zimbabwe’s Binga border harbour overloaded with a variety of goods ranging from groceries to cement, and many more. Most of the transporters are controlled by the police officers,” the sources said.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda declined to comment saying he was not at work.
“I am not going to say anything on this issue because I am not at work at the moment,” he said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi requested Southern Eye to call later, but he was no longer picking calls when further efforts to get his comment were made.
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