Despite the formation of a livestock task force, arrests of suspected cattle thieves and rotation of police officers, illegal cattle theft in the Epukiro constituency continues unabated.
This follows the discovery last week of fresh remains of six heads of cattle at the Otjimati village in the Epukiro constituency by the Community Against Stock Theft Organisation (CATO), led by Sandie Tjaronda.
Tjaronda confirmed this development to New Era yesterday, saying they handed over one suspect to the police, while three others are still on the run.
Rampant cattle theft has become prevalent in the Epukiro and the Otjombinde constituencies in the Omaheke region.
Last year, the Tjaronda-led taskforce, during an operation christened ‘Operation Coronavirus’, recovered 58 stolen cattle with an estimated value of about N$400 000, 10 donkeys, 12 sheep, five vehicles and a television set in the Epukiro constituency.
Similarly, a parallel operation in the Otjombinde constituency recovered over 100 cattle last year. The cattle were reportedly stolen from farms across the region over a period of time.
After a standoff between suspected cattle rustlers and the farmers in the Epukiro constituency last year, inspector general of the Namibian Police Sebastian Ndeitunga visited the constituency to come up with a holistic strategy to find a long-term solution to the rampant cattle theft.
The meeting decided to reshuffle police officers after complaints were raised by farmers that some officers were involved in cattle rustling.
In his state of the region address last year, Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate said some police officers are relaxing on the job – and as such, police officers at Epukiro, Tallismanus, Corridor 13 and Witvlei were rotated for the improvement of police operations, as well as to ensure restoration of trust in the force.
He revealed that Omaheke has lost livestock to the value of N$5 million from April 2019 to March 2020.
From April 2019 to March 2020, 99 stock theft-related cases were reported to the region’s police, of which 552 were big livestock and 627 small stock to the tune of N$4.95 million.
According to Nganate, of the 552 big livestock stolen, 159 were recovered, while 292 small livestock of the 627 were recovered to the value N$1.8 million.
Nganate said 244 suspected livestock rustlers were arrested by the police.