Cops Strike Against Cattle Syndicates

The Otjozondjupa police in collaboration with their counterparts in Omaheke have made huge inroads to curb livestock theft.

Between January and February this year alone crime syndicates in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions were responsible for the theft of cattle worth a combined N$1.6 million.

Spokeperson for NamPol in the Otjozondjupa Region, Sergeant Maureen Mbeha, yesterday applauded the communities around Grootfontein for improved relations with and trust in the police which resulted in the recovery of stolen cattle.

Cattle worth over N$500 000 were reported stolen in the Erongo Region since January 2014.

Omaruru, Karibib, Usakos and Uis are the most affected areas in this highly lucrative crime in the region.

Reports revealed that approximately 7 971 cattle and other livestock, with an estimated value of N$22.5 million, were reported stolen countrywide in 2013.

A total of 776 arrests were made and 1 274 charges relating to stock theft were laid and investigated.

Police recovered 1 935 stolen cattle (either alive or slaughtered).

Earlier this year, New Era reported on a combined crackdown – which involved tracing cellphone numbers and patrolling roads north of Okahandja – in which 25 of 36 stolen cattle were recovered.

That came in the wake of the police uncovering 125 false permits that were issued to cattle rustlers using permit numbers of elderly people in the Ovitoto area in March.

Nine oxen and two cows were slaughtered on the farm Ombujomatemb, situated 86 kilomotres east of Otjiwarongo, and at the neighbour’s farm Klein Hamakari, and fresh meat worth N$72 000 was found on one of the farm later.

Two weeks ago, 15 cattle from a farmer in the Grootfontein district were recoverd with the help of community members and last week four cows were recovered from a farm seven kilometres outside Otavi.

Mbeha said several arrests were made and suspects have already appeared in various courts while in some cases vehicles have also been impounded. “It is an ongoing investigation but we will not leave a stone unturned until we break this vicious cyle of stock theft,” she warned.

Some of the cattle rustlers camp secretly on farms and systematically set up wire traps which silently ensnare moving cattle, and then slaughter them.

Police have discovered mobile kraals and ramps to gather cattle and in some cases ear tags were replaced, but police could identify the brand after the hair was shorn off the animal.

Statistics made available by Nampol indicate that 401 less cases of stock theft were reported in 2013 than the year before.

In 2013, 3 424 large livestock were stolen, and 5 676 small livestock. Statistics for 2012 reveal that a total of 4 589 cattle were stolen and 9 863 small livestock.

Statistics for the four northern regions, prominent for livestock farming, revealed that stock worth about N$1.1 million was reported stolen in 2012, of which only N$415 982 worth of livestock was recovered in that same year.

Last year, livestock worth N$991 600 were reported stolen in the Ohangwena Region, and only N$339 800 worth of livestock was recovered by the end of that year.

Source : New Era