Police say they have declared war against the illegal importation and sell of cigarettes that are being smuggled into the country.
Botswana loses millions of pula due to the illegal trade in smuggled cigarettes.
A carton of smuggled cigarettes costs about P15 000 on the black market.
Already police have shot dead at least one suspect, whose accomplices escaped as they tried to smuggle cigarettes into Botswana.
In an interviewed with Sunday Standard, the Station Commander of Tshesebe Police Station, Superintendent Shane Mathitha, said, “We have declared war against illegal cigarettes that are being smuggled into Botswana in huge quantities,” adding that Botswana is losing millions of pula in unpaid duty.
Mathitha said most of the smuggled cigarettes come from Zimbabwe and Botswana is being used as a transit route to South Africa, India, as well as China.
He said most of these cigarettes are smuggled during the night through ungazetted points between Botswana and Zimbabwe.
“We have both permanent road blocks and random searches in some parts of my policing area in-order to deal with any criminal activity,” he said, adding that such road blocks are very helpful because lots of stolen goods have been intercepted by the police.
Mathitha said that although most of those arrested for cigarette smuggling are Zimbabweans, some Batswana nationals have also joined the lucrative smuggling trade.
Mathitha said after police have made an arrest, the case is referred to the Botswana Revenue Services to press charges against the suspects.
At the time of going to press, BURS had not yet responded to the questionnaire Sunday Standard sent to them.