Beitbridge Border security cameras stolen during a power blackout last week

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Border authorities have opened investigations into an incident where one of over 36 security cameras was stolen during a power blackout last week.

The theft came to light on Saturday when security agents discovered that a key area used by smugglers and illegal immigrants had gone off the radar.

Sources at the border said camera number 21 which monitors the area around the duty free shop, a checkpoint manned by soldiers and members of the police support unit, was missing.

The area around the duty free shop is used by conmen, touts, bicycle smugglers and border jumpers to access the border post.

“We suspect the camera was stolen during a power blackout. The suspect(s) are not known yet, but we are certain this was a well-planned job by the criminals.

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“Investigations are in progress and nobody has been arrested yet,” said a border official.

Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele said he was yet to receive information on the matter.

“We are yet to get that report and I cannot give you any information at the moment, ” he said.

Over 15 people including, police, immigration, Zimra officials and soldiers have been arrested since August last year on corruption related matters.

These were caught on camera taking bribes from either smugglers or illegal immigrants.

The closed circuit cameras are part of a raft of security upgrades at the border, as the Government seeks to reduce incidents of corruption and smuggling at the ports of entry.

So far Government has secured at total of $600 000 which has been used to, among other things, buy border patrol vehicles, lie detectors, mineral and metal detectors, patrol motor bikes, secret cameras and repairing the border parameter fence which had been vandalised by criminals.

The CCTVs were installed at points unknown to border officials.

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