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Two Mozambican police border guards died on Sunday after an incident involving gunfire with the South African military on their countries’ joint border, authorities said on Tuesday.
Mozambican officials said the incident occurred in the Ponta de Ouro region, but gave few details.
“We confirm the incident, which killed two of our colleagues from the border guards,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane said.
According to witnesses on the Mozambican side, the South African military made an incursion across the border fence and fired shots, killing the two border officers. A third survived.
The witnesses added that the bodies remained unattended to until a local leader, Jaime Tembe, collected them using his personal vehicle.
“The Defence and Security Forces, particularly the police of the Republic of Mozambique, are working to understand what actually motivated the incident,” Foreign Minister Jose Pacheco told reporters in the capital Maputo.
After gaining more information, the government will seek clarification from the South African side, “always preserving the relations of friendship between the two countries”, he said.
The incident should not “create a bad situation in the bilateral relations between Mozambique and South Africa,” he added.
On the other side of the border, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed it was launching its own probe.
It said the soldiers had been conducting a routine patrol near Ndumo, east of Farazella, as part of border protection when an incident occurred at around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Sunday.
“Details around this incident are still sketchy and reasons for the shooting are not yet known,” SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi said in a statement.
“A board of enquiry will be convened to determine causes of the incident.”Source: AFP