Loc1Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
The strong security team which was deployed to provide VVIP protection at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Equatorial Guinea at the request of the host country returned home yesterday after successfully carrying out its mission.The tournament, which started on January 17, ended on Sunday.

Addressing the contingent at its arrival at Manyame Airbase, Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga said the presence of the team in Equatorial Guinea helped to cement the already good relations existing between Malabo and Harare.

“The support given to the host was also in appreciation of Equatorial Guinea’s Pan-Africanist spirit of electing to host the tournament after Morocco despicably withdrew at the eleventh hour with Qatar, a non-African country, offering to take up the challenge which could have put African pride into disrepute and great shame of a proud African people,” he said.

Gen Chiwenga said the security team’s conduct during their tour of duty had not only enhanced the national image, but also dispelled the prophets of doom’s machinations.

“This was against a background of security threats by negative elements which had the potential to hinder the successful conduct of the games,” he said. “These threats included unspecified action by terrorist groups from the West African region, acts of sabotage by unruly elements and mercenaries, including threats posed by the proliferation of arms in the unstable Central Africa sub-region.

“It is without doubt that threats of this nature had the potential to retard African efforts at social and economic growth.”

Gen Chiwenga said it was pleasing to note that no major incidents were recorded during the games with the exception of crowd disturbances emanating from the host nation fans at Malabo Stadium when Equatorial Guinea lost to Ghana in the semi-final match, a situation which was professionally managed.

He applauded the Equatorial Guinea government for not only providing all administrative and logistical requirements for the contingent, but also for the trust they reposed on Zimbabwe.

The contingent comprised Zimbabwe Defence Forces members, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other members of the security services.

All the costs to do with the month-long operation were borne by the Equatorial Guinea government.