SANDF recovers vehicle after smugglers get it stuck in Limpopo River

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South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on border patrol have recovered a staff bus from the Limpopo River, after it got stuck there while soldiers were chasing the vehicle smugglers.

Captain Moses Semono from Joint Operations Tactical Headquarters Limpopo reported that members of Bambatha Rifles were busy with a foot patrol near the Sandquest Area of Responsibility near the Zimbabwe border when they came across a Volkswagen Crafter staff buss valued at R880 000 heading towards the Limpopo River.

“SA National Defence Force soldiers pursued them even though they were on foot. Upon arrival at the Limpopo River, which was flowing even though it was not full, the suspected vehicle got stuck. The occupants debussed and ran across the border into Zimbabwe,” Semono reported.

The South African Police Service was called, and the vehicle was recovered at Tshamutumbu Police Station. It was found to be registered in Heidelberg in Gauteng.

The Acting Officer Commanding Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo, Lieutenant Colonel Frans Lechuti, commended the members for a job well done.

Earlier in the month the SANDF reported a big cigarette bust by the Bambatha Rifles, who confiscated illicit cigarettes valued at R2.4 million from smugglers after a brief firefight in the Boerdery area of responsibility. The exchange of gunfire did not result in injuries, with the smugglers dropping their “goods” to make good a safe escape back to Zimbabwe.

In January, soldiers from the Johannesburg headquartered unit confiscated over R5 million worth of illicit cigarettes in three separate busts to add to a December bust of R2.1 million illicit Remington cigarettes in a panel van.

In January, SANDF soldiers on Operation Corona border patrols netted 3 205 illegal immigrants, apprehended 38 criminals, and confiscated R2.5 million worth of drugs.