Op Corona patrol nets detonators

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Reserve Force soldiers on a routine border protection patrol put a spanner in the works of the criminal fraternity who use explosives in the execution of their damaging “work”.

Johannesburg-based Bambatha Rifles is one of 14 SA Army units currently on the border as part of the ongoing border protection tasking Operation Corona. Its area of operations covers part of the South Africa/Zimbabwe land border in Limpopo province.

A foot patrol in the Echo Station 4 area adjacent to the border saw soldiers “find”, according to Joint tactical headquarters Limpopo communication officer, Captain Moses Semono, two bags containing R132 000 worth detonating fuses.

The “find” was made after the patrol approached suspects seemingly from Zimbabwe. They didn’t heed a call to stop and be searched, picking escape as a better option but leaving two bags behind.

“The SA Police Service (SAPS) bomb/explosives unit was called in for the seizing of the bags and two plastic bags containing some of the most dangerous illegal explosives suspected to be utilised by criminals during bombing of bank ATMs, cash-in-transit heists and illegal mining (Zama-Zamas) were discovered,” Semono reported.

Bambatha Rifles Officer Commanding, Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence Ramotsamai commended the patrol for its good work emphasising the “havoc” illegal explosives “wreak on the South African economy, its population and the image of the country”.

SA Army soldiers on border patrol duty are active evidenced by statistics for June. Last month, border protection efforts netted 642 illegal immigrants, R4.3 million worth of drugs, R1.6 million worth of contraband and 26 criminals. R1.5 million worth of stolen vehicles and a water truck worth R2 million were recovered along with livestock valued at R252 000.