Otjiwarongo farmers want Police to get more sniffer dogs

OTJIWARONGO: Livestock farmers in the Otjiwarongo District have called on Government to source more sniffer dogs that will assist the Namibian Police in detecting cattle rustlers.

Speaking on behalf of other farmers here, Calle Hassenpflug said on Monday the theft of cattle has increased on his farm and nearby farms, situated 86 kilomotres east of Otjiwarongo on the way to Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region.

He said cattle rustlers are now secretly camping on some of his farm units, and systematically set up wire traps which silently catch moving cattle, and then slaughter them.

Hassenpflug was reacting to stock theft by a syndicate at his farm, Farm Ombujomatemba, and at his neighbour’s farm, Klein Hamakari, on Saturday when it was discovered that nine oxen and two cows had been slaughtered there.

He said fresh meat of two cows was found inside one of his farm units on that Saturday morning.

A search exercise on his farm began, and the police were called when five suspected cattle rustlers were seen on the farm.

“The police from Otjiwarongo responded quickly together with the Neigbourhood Watch members,” Hassenpflug said, adding that one suspect was apprehended on Saturday evening.

Hassenpflug said if the police had sniffers dogs that day to help them follow the footprints, all five suspects could have been arrested on the farm.

He also urged Government to increase the number of detective police officers dealing with stock theft matters in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Contacted for comment, Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s Otjozondjupa Regional Public Relations Officer, Sergeant Maureen Mbeha confirmed the stock theft incidents on Farm Klein Hamakari and Farm Ombujomatemba over the weekend.

“I am aware of those cases involving five suspects who were found pretending to repair their vehicle along the C 22 gravel road on Saturday evening,” she said.

Mbeha said when members of the police approached the alleged broken vehicle, five men ran away and abandoned the vehicle.

Members of the police force then searched the vehicle and found 12 sacks of dried and fresh meat.

It was established that the meat is that of the missing nine oxen and two cows from Farm Klein Hamakari and Ombujomatemba.

The total value of the meat is N.dollars 72 000, said Mbeha.

“We impounded the vehicle and we know where the four suspects are hiding. We will arrest them anytime,” she said.

Police investigations continue.