Botswana’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Kenny Kapinga has assured Batswana travelling or staying in Zimbabwe that they are safe, following a story published in one of the country’s online publications that some Zimbabwean citizens were threatening to take the law into their hands to avenge the deaths of five of their countrymen at the hands of Botswana police officers.
ZimEye reported that some cross border traders have already formed a pressure group through which they will confront the government of Botswana to seek reparations, failing which they have threatened to launch a counter attack on Botswana citizens in Zimbabwe. The story went viral on social media and received a considerable number of comments. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Christopher Mbulawa declined to comment and referred The Telegraph to Kapinga.
“I cannot confirm whether the alleged killings took place or not. However, the threats mentioned in the report, which report has all the hallmarks of being a bogus report, will not be allowed to happen by the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” said Kapinga.
He added that any genuine incident of a similar nature would have been brought “to our attention through diplomatic channels or through our bilateral security structures.”
“I want to ask Batswana resident in Zimbabwe and those intending to visit not to be afraid of any reprisals. I have just confirmed with Deputy Commissioner Bruno Paledi that there is no incident of that nature,” he said.
Asked if he did not see the need to bring the issue to the attention of Zimbabwean authorities, Kapinga said “I have to advise myself whether to draw the matter to the attention of the Zimbabwe authorities knowing that it is a hoax.”
Immediate comment from the Zimbabwean embassy was not available as the Ambassador was not in office at the time of going to press.
According to ZimEye, last month four Zimbabweans died soon after their arrival in their homes after they were attacked by Botswana police officers.
“We did not expect that from our neighbors. How can they kill their fellow Africans who are trying to earn a living, and yet they are being schooled here in Zimbabwe,” Vusimuzi Malaba a father to the late slain brothers is quoted as saying.
The publication states that his sentiments were echoed by one Salatiel Ncube, whose only son Solomon was also buried in the same district after he was attacked by Botswana Police.
“We are going to attack their sons and daughters who are here. We will hunt them from their college bases and revenge their parents’ cruelty,” he reportedly told ZimEye.