JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Troops of baboons are causing havoc at a Zimbabwe-Zambia border post, snatching travelers' luggage and raiding trucks for food.
The baboons come in the hundreds every day to the Zimbabwean side of the crossing at the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post, NewsDay reported. The border area is "littered with stool."
Tichaona Phiri, stationed at the Chirundu post for the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, said baboons tear into sacks of maize loaded on transport trucks that are passing through the border, and also harass travelers.
“Baboons are an issue that must be dealt with here because they destroy travelers’ goods," Phiri told NewsDay.
"Sometimes they bite or clap people on their faces if they try to defend their property and they can snatch ladies’ handbags and even destroy cars as they search for food."
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A parliamentary committee visited the border post Friday to assess a cross-border program introduced in 2009 to facilitate trade among Common Market for Eastern and Southern African member states.
The Chirundu One-Stop Border Post is located on the Zambezi river near the Zambian capital, Lusaka.
“This is a national park area and that is why there are many baboons, but the problem is that they behave like human beings and are very good tricksters,” Phiri explained.
But the NewsDay story noted that on the Zambian side of the border, there was not a single baboon.
Stembeni Takawira, Chirundu assistant regional immigration officer, told the visiting delegation that baboons are a delicacy in Zambia, "hence locals killed them as soon as they spotted them."
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