Botswana police have arrested four Batswana and two Zimbabweans for allegedly robbing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) of property worth R625 000 in January this year.
According to the Botswana Police Service (BPS), the six were arrested in Gaborone on Friday in connection with a robbery in which 18 laptops, six cellphones and a camera were stolen from SADC offices.
BPS public relations officer Dipheko Motube identified the suspects as Mpho Rasetena, 28, Lesego Masilo, 33, Maitapiso Thuso Kgakgamatso, 34, and Otsile Semandi, 40, from Botswana, and Innocent Bushri Shaggy, 31, and Tongai Tsikirayi, 38, from Zimbabwe. Said Motube:
Four Batswana nationals and two Zimbabwean male citizens appeared before Village Magistrate’s Court in Gaborone today (Monday).
… At the time of arrest, the suspects were found in possession of a firearm suspected to have been used in the commission of the offence, and foreign currencies.
The men will appear in court again on 28 March.
There has been an upsurge in armed robbery cases in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana, with nationals from the three countries implicated in transnational armed robberies.
Last month, in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, the South African Police Service (SAPS) was involved in a shootout with 25 suspected armed robbers believed to have been involved in a spate of cash-in-transit heists.
Eight of the suspects were shot dead and 11 arrested while others escaped.
A fortnight ago, Botswana police killed nine people, including a South African man, in a shootout following a cash-in-transit robbery in the capital Gaborone.
Meanwhile, Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (Independent), has urged the SADC organ on security, to deal with armed robberies, which have become a danger in the region. He said:
We cannot continue to keep quiet about the crime rate in South Africa, where Zimbabweans are being implicated.
The rate has gone up and it doesn’t do us any good with those governments. Regionally, the crime rate involving armed robbers has also increased and now requires a holistic approach.
The SADC organ on security should deal with these armed robbers. Expert teams should be organised to deal with these robbers across borders.