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The South African soldiers who killed two Mozambican frontier guards on Sunday “invaded Mozambican territory for criminal purposes”, accused the General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, on Wednesday.
A highly emotional Rafael told the Maputo funeral ceremony for the murdered officers that so far the South African military have been unable to explain what they were doing on the Mozambican side of the border.
“We have met with them twice, but there has been no information that convinces us”, said Rafael. “The South Africans only recognise that they violated our frontier twice, but without saying why. Until proof to the contrary, the motive can only be criminal. And a crime was committed”.
He said the two frontier guards, Faustino Monteiro and Benedito Guirruta, were on a mission to protect the Mozambican border in the region of Ponta de Ouro, near the frontier with the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal, because threats had been noted from unknown individuals.
“In recent days, we noted there were violations of our border with South Africa. We stepped up our vigilance to find out who was violating our border, and on 16 June (Sunday) we discovered that the violations of the border originated on the South African side”, said Rafael.
That afternoon, the frontier guard patrol found two South African soldiers inside Mozambican territory, some 50 metres from the border line.
The three member Mozambican patrol tried to overcome the South Africans without resort to firearms, but the South Africans “used bullets to silence our colleagues”, declared Rafael.
The families of the two murdered men, called for justice to be done against the killers, and for an explanation of the reasons why their loved ones were shot down.