Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
THE Police National Anti-Stock Theft Unit has expressed concern over an increase in cross border stock-theft as most cattle stolen in Zimbabwe end up being smuggled into neighbouring countries.
Since December last year, more than 40 cattle were reportedly stolen in some parts of the country and smuggled out of the country through illegal crossing points.
According to police, some locals are also stealing livestock from neighbouring countries and smuggling them in through the illegal entry points.
The new Anti-Stock Theft Unit National Co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza yesterday said most of the cattle were stolen from grazing lands.
“Police are currently recording an increase in the number of cross border thefts involving cattle. Most of the cattle are stolen from the grazing lands,” he said.
He said on January 9 this year, seven cattle were stolen at Nyati homestead in Jambezi under Chief Shana in Matabeleland Province.
“On December 29 2015, another seven cattle were stolen in Mahlanuleni area in Chiredzi and driven through Gonarezhou National Park by Mozambican cattle rustlers. The accused, Joachim Joseph, a Mozambican was arrested,” Snr Asst Comm Makodza said.
He said in Mukumbura area, there was a dispute with their Mozambican counterparts involving ownership of a herd of 16 cattle.
The cattle were not branded.
“By their nature, cross border investigations are complex. The situation becomes even more complex if the stolen stock has no official identification marks.
“The seven cattle that were also stolen in Masvingo were recovered and it was easy to locate the owner because the beasts had some brand marks,” he said.
Snr Asst Comm Makodza said in light of these incidents, Government and their Mozambican counterparts agreed through the Resolutions of the 8th Session of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security to brand all cattle located along the borders by the year 2017.
Snr Asst Comm Makodza said advantages of personal brands were that it would be easy to solve disputes over ownership wrangles and that stray animals could be easily identified.
He said they would serve as modem of traceability, which was internationally recognised and they act as deterrent as stock thieves would not want to handle marked property.