9 April 2003

Zimbabwe: Cross-Border Traders Continue Exporting Basic Commodities

Harare — Cross-border traders feeling the pinch on the ban by the Government on export of basic commodities have defied police presence and continued to export the goods to a ready market in Mozambique, a snap survey revealed this week.

The daring traders had opened up illegal entry points along the Forbes Border Post despite heavy police presence armed with automatic rifles and vicious dogs.

At Forbes Border Post scores of unemployed youths were entering the bush carrying items such as sugar, cooking oil, milk, margarine, mealie-meal and to a lesser extent, maize.

Manicaland police spokesman said there was a serious battle between police and illegal traders along the border area.

About 70 illegal traders were being arrested everyday with huge quantities of goods confiscated, but the traders remained defiant.

"These traders are aware of the banned goods but they still force themselves into Moza-mbique through illegal routes," said the spokesman.

He said locals arrested when coming from Mozambique were being fined $600 for both illegal entry and exit but the fee had not helped in reducing the activity.

The Government banned the recent export of basic commodities a few weeks ago after Mutare city was reported to have run out of sugar and cooking oil owing to hoarding by traders from both Mozambique and Zimbabwe. - Ziana.

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