Further proof the thin line of soldiers deployed on border protection do as much as is humanly possible comes from the Mapungubwe tri-border area where shots fired did not deter them from executing standing orders.
Specialist anti-aircraft gunners from 10 Anti-Air Regiment in Kimberley are the current Operation Corona detachment on duty where Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe meet at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. The area is “popular” with Zimbabweans either wanting to enter South Africa illegally or smuggle goods.
The illegal immigrant flow was dented recently when soldiers detained 60 people seeking either work or refuge in South Africa from the harsh conditions prevalent in their home country.
Other Zimbabweans are apparent entrepreneurs wanting to move probably counterfeit or stolen goods for sale in South Africa.
Stopping this particular cross-border crime saw Kimberley-based gunners seize R1.4 million worth of contraband goods ranging from cigarettes through to amplifiers, clothing and small two-plate stoves over a week of patrols, observation posts and roadblocks.
At one of the contact points – in the Tshamutumbu area of responsibility – gunners had to face fire from smugglers
“The brazen suspects were brave enough to shoot at our soldiers. After troops returned fire, the suspects fled back to Zimbabwe. Based on cartridges found it was determined the suspects were armed with .303 calibre weapons and 9mm pistols,” Captain Moses Semono of Joint Tactical Headquarters, Limpopo, reported.