THE Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army have deployed more than 400 officers from outside Beitbridge in a major clampdown that has seen hundreds of people arrested and fined in the border town.
The clampdown is mainly targeted at smugglers, illegal cross-border travellers and various other malcontents following a surge in criminal activity at the country’s busiest port of entry.
Local law enforcement agents have been reduced to spectators amid allegations that they were complicit in most criminal activities recorded in the border town.
The military team is being led by a top army officer, while police officers are under one Assistant Commissioner J Simon.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday confirmed the heavy security deployment, but could not give further details.
“Any further detail will jeopardise our operations, suffice to say all people engaged in illicit deals must stop now,” he said.
Two choppers have been dispatched for the onslaught against the smugglers believed to have cost the country billions of dollars.
Illegal cross-border movement is also believed to have caused the spike in COVID-19 cases, which are now soaring daily.
The new arrivals brought in detectives, traffic police and all departments within the police to set up their own station within a station and have their own stationary and are said to be taking orders directly from Police General Headquarters in Harare.
They have pitched their tents inside the Beitbridge Police Station, but do not seem to be connected to the local police.
NewsDay is reliably informed that the operation is a follow-up to a recent visit by the National Joint Operations Command (JOC) which vowed to clean up Beitbridge.
JOC met in Beitbridge on December 11 and pledged to beef up borderline security to control rampant smuggling of goods and irregular migration which peaks during the festive season.
“This development could be in line with that. Government may have also been embarrassed by the recent accusations by South African Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who said Zimbabwean police and army officers were corrupt and facilitated border jumping,” a source said.