South African police have removed suspected robbers from Zimbabwe who were hiding under the New Limpopo Bridge in Beitbridge.
The gang of men, believed to be targeting unsuspecting border jumpers and travelers, used ladders placed on the piers of the bridge to access the underside and create their hideout. The hideout was in a section under the bridge usually used for inspecting the structure’s fitness, which is not normally used by the public.
Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, the South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson in Limpopo, stated that he would provide more details later.
A video recorded by SAPS and South African National Defence Forces members during the raid showed young men being taken out of their hideout. One officer can be heard saying, “These are the maguma-guma (thieves).”
Many Zimbabweans have fallen victim to these robbers, who target individuals avoiding official border crossing points. Some armed robbers also seek refuge in border areas with less police and army visibility.
There have been allegations that Zimbabwean police and army officers are complicit in criminal activities along the banks of the Limpopo River, allowing smugglers to pass through in exchange for a fee. Smugglers reportedly slide down the old bridge on the Zimbabwean side, avoiding the official border crossing, with the assistance of officers who charge R100 per individual.