Stock Thieves Steal 125 Cattle

Around 125 cattle have been lost to cattle rustling over the last two months in the Ovitoto area with cattle thieves using false identification to acquire livestock sale permits of unsuspecting farmers to abet their activities.

Ovitoto Chief Vipuira Kapuuo related to New Era how they discovered 125 false permits that were issued to cattle rustlers using permit numbers of elderly farmers.

The chief said that the culprits gave false names, identity numbers and cellphone numbers, pretending that they were sent by the farmers to acquire the permits.

“In February and March we (together with veterinary services) found three copies of sales permits to Gobabis,” said Kapuuo, adding that the first and second sets of permits were each for 45 cattle, while the last permit was for 35 cattle.

They intend calling an urgent meeting where they will invite representatives of veterinary services to help to find a way to issue livestock sale permits in future to curtail rampant stock theft.

“We feel pity for the older people who can’t reach veterinary services. The older people send their children to get permits on their behalf and that’s how thieves come in,” he explained, adding that many farmers did not put it in writing who they want to get the permits for them, but just send the person anyway.

He said they now want everything in writing and the person who is to pick up the sales permit should show valid identification.

Kapuuo said Hiskia Maveingo, a traditional leader at Okamboro in Ovitoto lost five cattle in February after thieves slaughtered the animals and left the meat on trees and some of it on nearby rocks.

“When people came there, the meat was rotten. It was a disaster imagine five cows?” he said.

He added that after a week farmers found six cows whose knees were chopped off on a plot in the Okahandja area. He lashed out at the culprits, saying that whoever was responsible caused a lot of pain and misfortune for the farmers.

He said none of the culprits were caught and the police are still investigating.

“We the farmers must be on the lookout. Thieves have reached another level,” cautioned Kapuuo, adding that people lost many cattle through drought, but now had to “stress themselves again” over cattle theft.

Maveingo’s wife Rikurupa told New Era some farmers were tipped off about a white truck with a Mariental registration number carrying suspected stolen cattle.

When the suspects realized they were being followed, they took flight and abandoned both the cattle and the vehicle.

She said the farmers have been monitoring the movement of some individuals in the area since cattle rustling became a problem.

The family lost five cattle through poaching, but Maveingo said it was not only cattle the thieves were after as small livestock such as goats and sheep were being stolen or slaughtered in the same fashion.

Maveingo said that the cattle rustlers used the name of her husband’s younger brother Alfred Maveingo to get a permit at veterinary services under false pretence.

Approached for comment, Nampol Chief Inspector Wuugulu at Okahandja revealed that a case of cattle theft was under investigation after a truck carrying 37 stolen cattle to Gobabis was impounded.

Wuugulu said one suspect was arrested on Thursday, but could not say whether it was the work of a syndicate.

Source : New Era