Mozambique claims police were shot on its side of the border

519

The Mozambican police force have said the two Mozambican policemen killed on border safeguarding duty in a firefight with South African soldiers on 16 June were shot on the Mozambican side of the border.

According to Mozambican newspaper O Pais, the two police officers killed were Faustino João, who was married with four children, and Benício Lázaro Guirruta, who was married with a 12-year old daughter.

Mozambican media were taken to the scene of the shootout last week, where Republic of Mozambique Police (PRM) commander Bernardino Rafael laid a wreath and observed a minute of silence. He said a memorial would be erected in honour of the fallen policemen and said an explanation of the shooting will be given by the South African side this week.

The shooting incident took place near Ponta do Ouro in Maputo province, according to O Pais, some 10 kilometres from the nearest Mozambican border post, whilst the Mozambicans were on patrol. The two deceased policemen were part of a three-man Frontier Guard patrol – the third, surviving, border guard had difficulty explaining what happened during the incident, according to O Pais.



Mozambican authorities have established a team to investigate the incident, whilst South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Joint Operations Chief Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo has been tasked with leading the investigation on the South African side. It is still not clear what sparked the incident or why it appears that South African soldiers on border protection duty were on Mozambican territory.