Cops failure to tackle cattle rustling exposed… as fuming farmers recover stolen livestock
Rising stock theft cases and alleged police inaction led to communal farmers in the Epukiro constituency of the Omaheke region to form a task force.
The efforts resulted in the recovering of stolen animals, including 58 cattle, with a combined value of about N$400 000.
Ten donkeys and 12 sheep were some of the recovered livestock. Thieves reportedly also stole five vehicles and a television set as farmers in the area lamented inaction on the part of the police. Sandi Tjaronda who led the local task force christened ‘Operation Coronavirus’ said part-time farmers during the lockdown period decided to form a task force to tackle the issue of cattle theft that has become prevalent in the constituency. According to Tjaronda, during the operation, which started in mid-April, the farmers were able to recover a total of 58 cattle, 10 donkeys, 12 sheep, five vehicles and one television set.
Tjaronda said a total of 14 suspects operating as a syndicate were arrested and handed over to the constituency police. On top of that, Tjaronda said, 41 communal farmers were also arrested for allegedly taking the law into their own hands after cases of assault and malicious damage to property were opened against them. The arrests led to a massive demonstration in front of the Epukiro Pos 3 police station were farmers called for the immediate release of those detained. The community also demanded the removal of all police officers and the station commander whom they accused of turning a blind eye to cases of stock theft in the area. “The constituency police has become friends with these thieves, they are in most cases paid a portion of what is stolen, so what we want now is for all these police officers to be send to other stations to avoid this situation. We want new faces that can be rotated every six months to avoid police officers to befriend cattle rustlers,” Tjaronda said this week. He also confirmed the communal farmers that were arrested for various offences, including assault, were all released on bail ranging from N$1 000 to N$8 000, after the community contributed to their bail. “Communal farmers donated cattle, money to the task force to help those who were arrested. We will leave no stone unturned. Stock theft must come to an end in this constituency, if the police can’t do it, we will do it,” he vowed. He said the aggrieved farmers, believed to be around 400, were set to meet the police force regional commander yesterday to iron out their differences. When contacted for comment on Wednesday, regional police commander for Omaheke region, Commissioner Andreas Haingura refused to divulge any information to the media. Police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga and other top police officials in the region were in a meeting yesterday to iron out the issues. Yesterday’s meeting dragged on four hours and at the time of going to print, there was no immediate feedback on the outcome.
Recovered… Some of the stolen cattle that were recovered by the task force at Ovituuwa, some 35km east of Epukiro Pos 3.
2020-05-08 11:17:07 | 2 months ago