The Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority (UTA) issued fines of nine donkeys – alternatively N$14 000 – each to two young men it found guilty of having stolen six donkeys from different communal farmers.
Kristofina Niilenge sentenced Frans Shikwanyu and Erastus Johannes last week at the traditional court in Onguludhia in Tsandi constituency in the Omusati region.
She said each animal stolen by the two will cost three donkeys and it is up to the culprits to split the number among themselves when paying back.
The suspects were given until the end of April 2021 and no extension would be granted since they have 10 months to pay the fines.
The fines will be handed over at the traditional court and witnessed by villagers.
“I am strongly warning you not to repeat this matter. Next time the fine will be more hefty because we cannot tolerate this type of behaviour among the youth that we see as our leaders of tomorrow,” she said.
The two culprits were spotted herding donkeys from Tsandi to Okaandi village two months ago and were followed by two men who were looking after the donkeys. The suspects, who spoke during mitigation proceedings while standing in the middle of the village court, admitted guilt and promised to return the donkeys to their rightful owners. One of the witnesses who followed them testified that the respondents drove seven donkeys and put them in the kraal of one of the suspects. They then decided to sleep outside the kraal to ensure they confirmed the animals were the ones reported as stolen before they proceeded to the headwoman’s house to report the matter.
“After we confirmed the suspects had bad intentions we also found cattle in the kraal. We decided to inform the headwoman about the matter. After reporting the matter we returned to the same place to get the donkeys, however, we found the kraal empty,” they testified.
The well-attended court hearing took place under a big tree in the centre of the village and villagers asked the suspects some questions before the headwoman delivered her verdict and the fines. The duo are known donkey thieves that had initially started stealing food from houses before they graduated to stock theft.