Security Alert: Bomb Threat Forces President Mnangagwa to Halt Victoria Falls Visit

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FILE - Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a session at the Africa Pavilion - Copyright © africanews Peter Dejong/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Bomb Threat Forces President Mnangagwa to Halt Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Airport found itself at the center of a bomb scare, leading to a temporary shutdown and the cancellation of President Edson Mnangagwa’s scheduled address at a renewable energy conference. The abrupt suspension of the president’s trip was prompted by airport authorities receiving an email from an unidentified sender describing a “credible bomb/firearm threat” targeting Zimbabwe‘s airports. Although unconfirmed, local reports suggested the president’s plane might have made a U-turn during its journey to the conference.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe acknowledged the incident’s impact, stating that some flights had to divert or face delays, with the likelihood of further disruptions to facilitate continuous environmental monitoring. The seriousness of potential terrorist threats prompted heightened security measures, and investigations are underway. The call for calm emphasized the need to take such alerts seriously despite the country’s peaceful environment and secure entry points.

While uncommon in southern African countries, Zimbabwe had a notable incident in 2018 when an explosion occurred in Bulawayo during a campaign rally ahead of the presidential election. The blast, which took place close to President Mnangagwa, resulted in two fatalities and approximately 50 injuries, including high-ranking officials. Although initially, two individuals were arrested in connection with the explosion, they were later released due to a lack of evidence.

The incident at Victoria Falls Airport underscores the challenges posed by security threats, requiring swift and thorough responses to ensure the safety of individuals and maintain the smooth operation of critical infrastructure. As investigations progress, authorities will likely be keen on enhancing security measures to prevent and respond effectively to potential threats in the future. The disruption serves as a reminder of the need for ongoing vigilance and preparedness in the face of evolving security concerns, even in regions not traditionally associated with such incidents.


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