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275 border jumpers arrested

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POLICE have intensified patrols in the border town of Beitbridge, with 275 people arrested attempting to cross into neighbouring South Africa (SA) without proper documentation.

Due to Covid-19 protocols, travellers between the two countries need to produce valid PCR test certificates at the border. However, many are try to sneak into Zimbabwe or back to South Africa without taking the test by evading immigration points at Beitbridge.

Both Zimbabwe and SA have stepped up security and patrols along the border to minimise the risk of people spreading the deadly virus.

“275 people were arrested while trying to cross into South Africa without valid travel documents at Beitbridge border post,” national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi said in a statement yesterday.

Among those intercepted by the law enforcement agents were 23 minors and police have now begun the task of trying to identifying their parents.

“Of these, 23 are minors and they are now in the Social Welfare Department’s custody. “They have since commenced the Covid-19 screening process and identification of their parents is underway,” Nyathi added.

Several people are finding their way in and out the country illegally mainly by swimming across some shallow points along the Limpopo River, which separates Zimbabwe and SA.

Hundreds have also been arrested along the border trying to smuggle goods. Meanwhile, SA Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi revealed that they have enlisted the services of the SA National Defences Forces to deploy helicopters along the border.

The SA military and police will be flying helicopters over the vast river in an effort to deter would-be border jumpers.

“You can’t just come in with your fraudulent documents. “The person who wants to enter your country with a fraudulent document is undermining your sovereignty, is undermining the order in your country, is undermining all the laws,” Motsoaledi told ENCA yesterday regarding border jumpers.

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