Donkey-Smuggling– South Africa is currently investigating a growing trend of transporting stolen cars to Zimbabwe with the help f donkeys.
SA reports say that the police has recently discovered that a car was being smuggled by 4 donkeys through Limpopo River bed to Zimbabwe.
According to the police, the car in question is Mercedez Benz C220 which is suspected to be stolen. The car was found on the river bed close to Musina. They also stated that the car smugglers abandoned the car and fled into the bushes as the car got trapped in the sand.
SA authorities confirm that this will be the second of its kind in recent times. Previously in December 2016, a stolen car from Durban was recovered on the same river. The Hilux bakkie was also attached to a group of donkeys.
“The provincial commissioner intercepted a Toyota Hilux being smuggled through the Limpopo River. They were using five donkeys to put it through. Recently, a new Mercedes-Benz was put through the river which is currently dry and it got stuck in the sand – they were using four donkeys.”
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Limpopo River serves as the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe. The route is often used to make illegal importations and migrations.
The police is interested in knowing if both donkey-smuggling acts were carried out under the operations of a syndicate. 2 of these similar smuggling cases are undergoing a thorough investigation.
On why the smugglers turned to the use of donkeys to move cars across the border, BBC correspondent, Pumza Fihlani suggests it may have been to avoid being tracked with the cars.
Since most cars now have tracking devices, it is only logical that the criminals do not want to be tracked and caught. Moreso, tracking systems work when the car is running. So having the donkeys do the dirty job is a lot safer for them.
According to the report, the donkey-smuggling criminals inserted metal sheets under the wheels to make it easier for the donkeys to pull the car.
Police Brigadier, Motlafela Mojapelo said:
“The suspects were using donkeys to pull the car across the river‚ but our members were just in time to pounce on them after the donkeys were apparently no longer able to pull it through the sand,”
“Our members were just in time to pounce on them after the donkeys were apparently no longer able to pull it through the sand,”
Sometimes the cars are driven through the drier parts of the river.
While the use of beasts of burdens for illegal transportation is new to South Africa, the use of several other animals to smuggle both contraband and drugs is not exactly new.
In areas like Costa Rica and Kuwait, suspicious birds have been used for smuggling drugs.