Bambatha Rifles “save” a bakkie, net illicit cigarettes


Bringing in donkeys to help move a stolen high-end bakkie across the Limpopo River did not help smugglers as South African infantry soldiers swooped to recover a Toyota Hilux SRX.

The soldiers, on the strength of SA Army Reserve Force unit, Bambatha Rifles, presently patrol sections of the South Africa/Zimbabwe border in the Musina vicinity. Their deployment is part of the national border protection tasking – Operation Corona – assigned to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration.

During a recent foot patrol along the river, soldiers observed approaching vehicle lights and readied for action. A bakkie, valued at R439 995, drove into the water where two donkeys wearing harnesses were “standing by” apparently ready to pull the vehicle to land.

Seeing this, the patrol broke cover, running to the vehicle and its occupants. They “disrupted the suspects’ illegal activity”, retrieved it from its watery position and handed it to police for “further processing,” Captain Moses Semono from Joint Operations Tactical HQ, Limpopo, reports.

In another success for the Johannesburg-based regiment, close to R2 million worth of illicit cigarettes were confiscated during a joint operation with police.

Working from ‘Campo Airport’ [probably Musina Aerodrome], west of Musina, suspicions were aroused when two pedestrians dropped their luggage and ran away from the men and women in camouflage. A closer look at the luggage revealed Remington Gold cigarettes, valued by SA Revenue Service (SARS) customs officials at R1 801 041.