19 September 2019
Police in Botswana arrested nine Zimbabwean men and a Motswana after the suspects were found in possession of 15 mobile communication tower batteries belonging to different companies.
Nunu Lesetedi, senior assistant commissioner, Botswana Police service, confirmed the arrest of the 10 men who were in possession of network batteries at a police roadblock in Dibete.
“The suspects comprised nine Zimbabwean male citizens and one Motswana male citizen aged between 37 and 42 years who were intercepted on their way from Gaborone to the north,” Lesetedi said. “The suspects are still in police custody while investigations are continuing.”
Cases of vandalism of communication network equipment and infrastructure in Botswana are said to be on the increase with thieves targeting batteries and copper cables for resell.
A battery taken from a communication tower is thought to fetch as much as US$2,000 on the black market.
Communities, individual customers and small businesses in affected areas are reported to be struggling to access mobile telephone networks as well as banking services as a result of the damage battery theft causes the entire network infrastructure.