13 000 arrested for stocktheft

Freeman Razemba recently in MWENEZI
More than 13 000 people were arrested for stocktheft and other related cases countrywide, while 9 754 cattle were stolen in separate incidents last year in 5 054 stocktheft cases that were recorded by police countrywide. Police Anti-Stock Theft Unit deputy national co-ordinator Assistant Commissioner Jimmy Khumalo said of the 9 754 stolen cattle, 3 061 were recovered.

“During the whole of last year, we arrested 806 cattle rustlers while 12 181 others were arrested for stock-theft-related cases,” he said. He said some of the cases were still pending at the courts while several suspects were facing various sentences after being convicted.

Asst Comm Khumalo said they conducted 8 993 awareness campaigns, reaching 347 664 people and farmers countrywide.

Asst Comm Khumalo last week led a team of senior officers on a tour of some areas and police stations along the country’s borders. The areas visited included Mkwasine, Ndali, Ngundu and Mwenezi among others.

The purpose of the visit was to sensitise the police and communities in affected areas on the need to brand their cattle.

The team is set to visit Beitbridge, Maitengwe, Plumtree, Mapisa, San-Yat-Sen, Zezani, Tuli and Guyu in Matabeleland South next week.

Asst Comm Khumalo said the visits had been successful and that officers were following the orders made on cattle branding.

“They are following the roadmap that was sold to them late last year, despite the logistical challenges being faced,” he said.

The officers are expected to finish conducting the census on cattle by mid-year.

“We will also come and review progress mid-this year. As of now, everything is in the right direction as our members are following instructions and guidelines. There is progress which is also being supported at provincial and district levels,” Asst Comm Khumalo said.

Police staff officer for the Anti-Stock Theft Unit Chief Superintendent Andrew Phiri warned officers from engaging in any illegal activities such as conniving with unscrupulous businesspeople to smuggle cattle out of the country.

He urged officers to ensure that they take note of “escape routes” which were used by cattle rustlers.

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