District Commissioners around Botswana have turned down at least three applications for marriage believed to be part of a bigger plan to turn Botswana into a terrorist sleeper cell.
The Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Lebogang Bok, confirmed to the Sunday Standard this week that they recently turned down three marriage applications involving foreign men and Batswana women.
“I’m not ready to divulge the nationalities and the names of those foreigners because of security reasons,” she said.
She said when couples were interviewed their statements were contradictory.
She further said one of the foreigners was given a few hours to round up his business and leave Botswana.
Highly classified information passed to the Sunday Standard revealed that suspected terrorists are proposing marriage to Batswana women in order to acquire resident permits and citizenships and settle in Botswana.
It is understood that District Commissioners have been inundated with marriage applications from questionable foreign men and Batswana women.
The Sunday Standard has been informed that after the marriage has been confirmed, the foreigner would disappear in to thin air.
Some of the abandoned Batswana spouses have already reported to the district commissioners that their husbands deserted them immediately after tying the knot.
Sunday Standard reported two weeks ago that scores of suspected Al Qaeda terrorists are in police cells awaiting deportation to their home countries, while several others are being investigated for money laundering and trying to establish a sleeper cell in Botswana.
Most Al Qaeda agents in Botswana are believed to have used the country’s boom in imported second hand cars as a cover.
Security agents are understood to be investigating a number of suspicious foreigners who are running second hand car dealerships. Most do not use banks to save their business proceeds or to carry out their business transactions. Investigations into the company directorships have turned up names of directors in Kenya where an Al Qaeda sleeper cell was unveiled a few years ago.
Investigations have also centered on the influx of Middle Easterners, mostly Egyptians, who have been flocking into Botswana in large numbers.
Botswana has already alerted South Africa, because it is feared that Botswana is being set up as a sleeper cell in preparation for infiltration into South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. Botswana is believed to be a soft target for Al Qaeda sleeper cells because of its weak finance and company regulatory regime.
Government is expected to tighten company registration laws to ensure that terrorists do not exploit loopholes in the current laws. There are even fears that some of the suspicious traders masquerading as car dealers may be using their businesses to launder money for Somali pirates who are hijacking ships crossing through the Horn of Africa.
The British government recently warned that Botswana citizens will need visas to visit the UK, unless the Botswana government “significantly reduces” the risk posed by Batswana.
Botswana is listed among 11 countries: Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, Malaysia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Swaziland, and Trinidad and Tobago that have been warned to address the risk they pose.
The BBC quoted a Home Office report, which identifies bogus passports, criminal acts and terrorism as possible risks posed by visitors.
It says the new visa requirements could become law by early 2009.
It is believed Botswana is being targeted because of widespread passport fraud and suspicions of being used as a conduit for human trafficking. A number of foreign nationals have recently been arrested around the world traveling on forged or stolen Botswana passports.
A suspected Al Qaeda terrorist who had been staying in Botswana for sometime was arrested in Zambia two years ago.