Cattle Hides Unearthed in Omaheke Region

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Scores of cattle hides have been unearthed at a settlement near Talismanus following the arrest of six young men in connection with stock theft. The community of Otjombinde in the Omaheke Region has been shocked by the discovery of the 29 hides of cattle between the villages of Talismanus and Tiervlei last week. The hides are believed to be of stolen cattle and so far six people have been arrested and released on bail. The discovery was made last week after a young man in his twenties was arrested for selling meat in Talis-manus without proof of ownership of cattle. After cross-questioning by the police, the suspect led them to a house where hides of 29 cattle were found buried. The Regional Councillor of the Otjombinde Constituency Matti Ndjoze told New Era yesterday that four of the stolen cattle belonged to him, while two other belonged to Uakomba Uanivi and Tjizu Ndjoze. The councillor said the rest of the cattle could not be identified so far because the thieves had cut off the brand marks on the hides as well as the ears. He added that the heavy rainfall in the area also made it difficult for cattle owners to detect whether or not their cattle are missing because they get water at different water holes in the veld. “Some of the hides are also spoiled because they have been underground for up to two months and thus it is difficult to identify the cattle.” He however noted that he was hopeful that the police forensic department which is currently busy examining the hides could shed more light on the identity of the cattle. The councillor stated that it appears that the theft of the cattle took place between last year December and February this year. “It appears that most of the carcasses are sold to informal markets in Talismanus, Gobabis and Windhoek.” Ndjoze said the thieves have now changed their style. They no longer steal live animals, as they are difficult to transport. So they prefer to slaughter the stolen cattle and transport the carcasses to the towns at night. Meanwhile, the councillor noted that the community of Otjombinde is extremely unhappy with police officials at Talismanus and have brought the matter to the attention of the Police Headquarters in Windhoek. Ndjoze claimed that the community was convinced that the suspects were acting in cahoots with the police who protect them. “I think the thieves supply the police with some of the stolen meat because it is unbelievable how the police are reluctant to arrest the suspects.” He added that the community was also disappointed that four of the suspects got free bail while the other two only got bail of N$1 500 and N$500 respectively. Ndjoze accused the police of drinking with the suspects at the bottle store in Talismanus hours after the community discovered the hides. “If it was not for the two investigating officers who were sent from Gobabis, the suspects could still not have been arrested as the police at Talismanus is ineffective.” Ndjoze is also convinced that with the investigators still in the area, more discoveries could be made. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. More hides will be discovered.” He said the discovery was the biggest one of stock theft in his area since he was elected to office. He said he would work hard to root out stock theft in the area.