By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK Members of the police at Otjiwarongo, acting on a tip-off from the public, on Tuesday night arrested one member of a notorious gang of cattle thieves in the area. The gang has caused huge financial losses to commercial farmers. The suspect is reportedly a member of a gang consisting of three criminals who specialize in cattle rustling. They supply meat to informal butcheries at the town. According to the Station Commander at the Otjiwarongo Police Station, Chief Inspector Levi Rechter, the region has been experiencing an increase in stock theft for the past three months, which prompted him, the CID Unit and stakeholders to organize and carry out a sting operation that resulted in Tuesday's arrest of one of the perpetrators. Employing surprise and mobile roadblocks with the help of local farmers, the police set up a roadblock along the Outjo-Otjiwarongo highway. During the operation, a vehicle carrying the suspected stock thieves appeared. One of the suspects was arrested and two others disappeared into the darkness. Sources said the police fired shots towards the fleeing duo. In the vehicle, the police found incriminating evidence consisting of a .22 rifle. 303, a spotlight, carving knives and ropes. It was also discovered that on the same night, the gang allegedly butchered two of Pete Krone's cattle on Acatia Farm at a spot only 20 meters from the main road. Although the other two got away, the police now know who they are and the commander believes it is only a matter of time before they are arrested. The suspect has not yet appeared in court as police are still conducting further investigations, he said. Giving some background to the case, he said the group had been running well-organized raids on farms, and at times fleeing and leaving carcasses behind. "I lost two of my herd, on the Khorixas road, they killed an oryx and another two. A fortnight ago they killed five bulls and three days ago, they killed three from my neighbouring farm," said Krone. "I'm glad that this problem will soon be out of the way as the losses were unbearable for us farmers," he added. The Chief Inspector commended his team and urged them to remain on alert.
2006-07-13 00:00:00 12 years ago