Hileni Mwandingi and
The Namibian Police will meet and come up with a holistic strategy to find a long-term solution to rampant cattle theft that has become prevalent in the Epukiro constituency in the Omaheke region.
These were the words of Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga when he met disgruntled Epukiro farmers at Omawejozonjanda on Thursday, who over a few weeks recovered 58 stolen cattle with an estimated value of about N$400 00, ten donkeys, 12 sheep, five vehicles and a television set.
The meeting was also attended by Ovambanderu chief Kilus Nguvauva, Chief Turimuro Hoveka of the Hoveka Royal House, constituencies’ councillors from Otjinene, Otjombinde and Epukiro, as well as Omaheke regional commander Commissioner Andreas Haingura and the Otjinene district public prosecutor, Kristian Erastus.
Ndeitunga, who was also accompanied by the Omaheke regional governor, Pijoo Nganate, applauded communal farmers for having organised themselves to an extent of recovering some of the stolen livestock but warned that such initiatives should not be in contravention of the Namibian Constitution and he cautioned them from using torture.
He further advised communal farmers in the constituency to form a community reservist watch group that should be working with the police to fight the scourge of cattle theft that is impoverishing communal farmers.
“The Namibian police is always ready to work with the communal farmers in fighting stock theft,” Ndeitunga said.
On his part, Nganate cautioned the communal farmers not to shift the blame onto the police, saying that communal farmers are also to be blamed, as they buy stolen livestock or goods.
He further suggested that police officers should periodically be rotated to ensure they do not become complacent.
In their efforts to tackle cattle rustling, communal farmers at Epukiro formed a task force christened ‘Operation Coronavirus’ that saw the confiscation of a good number of stolen livestock and other stolen items including vehicles.
Sandi Tjaronda, who led the local task, told New Era last week that a total of 14 suspects operating as a syndicate were arrested and handed over to the 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, where farmers called for their immediate release.
Tjaronda, speaking to New Era after the meeting, said “the meeting was fruitful and hope that concerns raised by the communal farmers during the meeting will be taken seriously. Our police do not understand the importance of cattle to our community – and I hope this meeting is an eye-opener.”
2020-05-11 10:19:07 | 3 months ago