- Southern Africa
- Conflicts - Diplomacy
Botswana-Zimbabwe diplomatic row over armed scouts imminent
A diplomatic row could erupt between Zimbabwe and neighboring Botswana after three armed officers from the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) were arrested for straying into Zimbabwe.
The three armed scouts were nabbed last week in Kazungula close to Victoria Falls after they crossed into Zimbabwe by “mistake while tracking lions that had killed two cows in Lesoma village along the border”.
By this morning, they were still locked up at Victoria Falls police stattion.
The Botswana High Commissioner in Harare, Gladys Kokorwe said her office has been notified of the arrest and that she is working ’flat out to secure their release".
A defence lawyer to represent the scouts was being sought this morning.
Zimbabwe officials say the three should appear in court as “there is a possibility that they could have been carrying dangerous arms of war”.
Bostwana President, Ian Khama, is a staunch critic of his Zimbabwe counterpart and has openly called for Mugabe to resign.
Kazungula Police Station Commander, Assistant Superintendent Chakalisa Nkoni said that the three men were caught along Kazungula/Lesoma.
Ass. Sup. Nkoni explained that the men aged between 27 and 34 were on duty tracking down lions which had earlier killed two cows at Lesoma.
"They where driving a Botswana government vehicle and had with them two government firearms. The men are reported to have got lost on their hunt and were caught by Zimbabwean police," he said.
He also said the scouts are due to appear in court in Victoria Falls on Thursday and they appear to be “too traumatised by the ordeal”.
The detention of the three officers follows another incident mid last year when several Batswana women and children were detained in Zimbabwe for entering the country illegally.
The group was collecting thatching grass when they found themselves in Zimbabwe.
The borderline between the two countries is difficult to identify because there is no fence or markings.
Botswana deports close to 3 000 illegal Zimbabwe immigrants per week.