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Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Mozambique-SA border crime: Over 64 vehicles recovered in over a year

At least 23 of the vehicles have been successfully handed over to South African owners.

According to the South African Police Service (SAPS), the South Africa-Mozambique border policing operations have resulted in the recovery of at least 64 vehicles since last February.

A task team was established to clamp down on border crime in February 2023. Since then, over 140 suspects linked to cross-border vehicle theft syndicates have been arrested.

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The Minister of Interior of the Republic of Mozambique General Pedro Ronda and Police Minister General Bheki Cele held a two-day Ministerial Bilateral visit in Maputo, Mozambique from 8 to 9 April 2024.

The Mozambican and South African officials meet regularly and form part of the Bilateral Technical Working Group which consists of commanding officers from both countries including heads of detectives, border policing and crime intelligence.

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Mozambique police and the SAPS are signatories to a joint action plan aimed at addressing transnational crime in both countries and across the region from February 2023.

Among other crimes, the two countries aim to target vehicle theft syndicates, drug trafficking and kidnappings, terrorism threats, and tracking and tracing of wanted criminals for extradition.

Since its establishment last February, the task team has seized R98 million rand worth of drugs, arrested over 140 suspects linked to cross-border vehicle theft syndicates and recovered at least 64 vehicles.

At least 23 vehicles have been successfully handed over to their South African owners. The firearms and rifles used in the commission of some of these crimes have also been recovered during operations.

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A key mastermind of kidnappings for ransom has also been arrested in South Africa.

He is due to be extradited to Mozambique.

“The SAPS management and Police Ministry is convinced that such agreements with regional counterparts will improve the country’s ability to combat cross-border crimes and promote peace stability and security within the region,” said Cele.

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“At the end of the day, it’s not about us or the people who are sitting here. It’s about the people of both countries – South Africa and Mozambique – that they must feel the impact of our coming together and their safety must be felt by them and they witness that indeed we are working on their behalf by feeling that they’re safe.

“Criminals will remain a few steps ahead if we don’t increase our own agility.”

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