The Omusati regional police strongly advised communal farmers to ensure they take care of their livestock because there is a syndicate operating along the Namibian and Angolan border, where criminals steal animals and exchange them at the Mahenene border post to hide their crime.
According to the regional crime investigation coordinator in Omusati region, Deputy Commissioner Moses Simaho, more than 113 livestock were stolen during the recent lockdown period in that region. Simaho made the revelation last week on Friday.
Simaho said during that period alone, the region registered 25 cases of different livestock theft: 89 goats, 11 cattle, seven sheep, five donkeys and one horse.
“I think the criminals have taken advantage of the situation because they knew we were more focused on the lockdown and making sure the public adhered to the Covid-19 regulations. Thus, they resorted to stealing animals to make quick money,” said the deputy commissioner.
Angolan criminals bring animals at their setup kraal close to the border with fake papers from some headmen and women, then they exchange animals with the local criminals. When police demand for the rightful owners, they always fail to prove they are the rightful owners.
“We want to make sure we have apprehended all these people who are part of this syndicate. However, our people also need to protect their animals by keeping them safe in the kraal and also look after them all the time,” he said.
The deputy commissioner said so far, 34 animals have been recovered by the police. Among them, eight cattle, 17 goats, one horse, three sheep and five donkeys.
“Although the police has been working tirelessly to pursue the culprits, and arrested 17 suspects. The victims have been making the work of the police difficult because their animals are left unattended, roaming around,” he lamented.
He urged residents of Omusati region to keep their animals in kraals because stock theft is skyrocketing in the region.
President Hage Geingob declared the state of emergency due to coronavirus in March, and the lockdown came into effect on 27 March to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.