POLICE in Plumtree have raised concern over the ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in Botswana with two people having been killed in the neighbouring country recently.
There have been complaints in the past over the ill-treatment of locals who are resident in or when they travel to Botswana, including being subjected to corporal punishment.
Acting officer commanding Bulilima and Mangwe districts Superintendent Stephen Mutema told the Senate Thematic Committee on Peace and Security and the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government that a Zimbabwean national was shot dead while the other one was fatally assaulted in Botswana recently.
He said authorities are conducting investigations and it was not stated who shot the Zimbabwean.
“We have witnessed our locals being shot in Botswana. As I speak, we are investigating the death of two of our nationals in Botswana. In the first case, a 23-year-old Zimbabwean, Thabani Ncube from Sanzukwi Village died after being heavily assaulted on suspicion of being a cattle rustler,” he said.
Supt Mutema said Ncube died at a hospital in the neighbouring country following the assault and was buried there.
“In the second case, Phineas Nyathi of Tjitji Village in Mangwe District was shot dead last month by yet to be identified people.
“He was shot in the head and died on the spot,” he said.
Supt Mutema said Nyathi had crossed with a friend into Botswana to buy tyres for his scotch cart when he was killed.
He said they are still waiting to get the full circumstances leading to the shooting incident.
“We have good relations with our Botswana counterparts and we are working together to try and get to the bottom of the issues. But as police we are very concerned when our compatriots die like that.
“One must understand that people living on the border line between the two countries are relatives. They visit each other unfortunately using illegal crossing points,” said Supt Mutema.
He urged Zimbabweans to use official crossing points and to have travel documents when crossing to other countries to avoid challenges.
Supt Mutema told the committees that police also have a challenge patrolling the porous border as they do not have enough resources.
“We police a border line of 336km; the border line is very porous as it allows people to move freely to and from Botswana.
“We have established six bases from Mphoengs to Madlambudzi made up of the army, police and the support unit in each base.
“They do patrols along the border but nevertheless we still experience the challenge of smuggling. A number of people have been arrested for smuggling fuel, food and electrical gadgets,” he said.
Supt Mutema said the shooting of Zimbabwean cattle by authorities in that country is still a challenge and they continue to raise awareness to farmers to pen their cattle. He said among people being deported some are ex-convicts.
“We received about 45 ex-convicts from Botswana, the majority will have been sentenced for minor cases spending one to six months jail time in that country.
“Only two spent 10 and 8 years respectively,” he said.
On the shooting of Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country, Botswana Ambassador to Zimbabwe Retired Lieutenant Colonel Louis Fisher said his country does not tolerate criminal activities.
“Criminal events can never to tolerated, they are totally wrong. That can never be condoned. Criminal elements who did that must be arrested and brought to book,” he said.