Zimbabwe: Drama As 'Fleeing' Mnangagwa Stopped At Border to Mozambique?

Photo: The Herald
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
8 November 2017

FIRED Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is reported to have been stopped from crossing into Mozambique through the Forbes Border foiled by security details on Tuesday morning, forcing him to cross through an undesignated spot.

According to a police radio communication seen by New Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa had some skirmishes with the police at Forbes border post after they had blocked him from leaving the country.

The skirmishes, according to the memo, resulted in Mnangagwa speeding off returning to Zimbabwe.

"As the detectives were waiting for instructions from command the ex-Vice President sneaked out of the Mercedes Benz ML350 with two of the unidentified bodyguards and walked towards the exit gate back into Zimbabwe. The registration plates of the vehicle could not be mastered because of the skirmishes.

"Since detectives were still waiting for instructions from command, efforts were made to stop the ex-Vice President from leaving the border. The efforts were however met with stiff resistance by the ex-vice President and his bodyguards who threatened detectives with assaults if any further attempts would be made to stop them. Detective Assistant Inspector Chivasa ordered number 080645G Constable Dube C. of Z.R.P Support Unit currently deployed at Forbes Border post to fire warning shots to stop the ex-vice president and his team from fleeing before the issue could be finalised.

Constable Dube failed to fire any warning shot as one of the bodyguards grabbed the firearm to allow the ex-vice president to get into another Mercedes Benz, white in colour, which was parked about 5 metres from the gate and it sped off at high speed towards Mutare," read the official state security memo.

The police, the memo said, later arrested Mnangagwa's son Terirai who they quizzed and subsequently released.

But according to some eyewitnesses at the border, Mnangagwa who was wearing a brownish top and a black cap arrived at Forbes border in an ML Mercedes accompanied by four unidentified relatives around 7am.

His security team remained in their two luxury cars that were parked at the entrance of the border.

It is said one of the former VP's close relatives took the passports for stamping at Immigration point and came back with five gate passes.

The vehicle then proceeded for security check at the CID Interpol office near the exit gate. At the Interpol office, the car was searched and there were some delays.

Sources said the car was searched for over 20 minutes and Mnangagwa became suspicious. Mnangagwa reportedly moved out of the car and stood from a distance.

"Mnangagwa opened the door and moved out of the car and moved a distance. I think he was suspecting something because the security personnel took more than 20 minutes to search the car," said the source who declined to be named.

One of the border security officers requested for gate passes and was handed over five passes by the VP's close relative.

It is reported that security requested to see the fifth person but Mnangagwa had retreated out of the border complex to the entrance.

The drama reportedly started when the security detail raised alarm to the Support Unit officers manning the entrance gate to stop Mnangagwa from retreating back to the gate.

Another armed police officer reportedly grabbed Mnangagwa's hands but was tripped to the ground by his bodyguards who rushed to the scene from a distance.

Sources said when another police officer sensed danger he corked his AK 47 assault rifle to deflate the tyres of the gate away Mercedes Benz but his weapon was reportedly grabbled by the nozzle by one of Mnangagwa's security details before he was warned to "stay away".

"A military police officer did not move an inch but the two cops later froze after they realized it was Mnangagwa. They did not know it was ED at first they thought it was a border jumper," said a source who watched the drama from a close range.

"They tried to close the border gate but they were stopped by Mnangagwa's security details who then sped their cars towards Mutare.

All this drama happened in a flash of a second. These security guys are effective and well trained," said an eyewitness.

However, the undisclosed relatives were reportedly allowed to cross into Mozambique after the fiasco.

"Mnangagwa relatives were allowed to cross into Mozambique using their ML Mercedes Benz," said one security detail who was on border patrol.

The junior cops who were involved in the fracas refused to speak to media citing protocol.

Sources said the sacked VP could have later illegally crossed into Mozambique given that his entourage was given free passage into Moz after the fiasco. On Wednesday reports said head issued a statement saying he was already in exile after fleeing threats to his life.

During a rally in Harare, Manicaland minister, Mandi Chimene, said Mnangagwa was a "border jumper".

Mnangagwa was sacked from government for disloyalty and little probity in the execution of his duties.

His close allies in both government and the party were also being purged as succession wars reached tilting point within the ruling party.

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