By Wezi Tjaronda
The Government on Monday suspended the movement and sale of livestock in the Eiseb Block due to a broken fence along the Namibia/Botswana border.
Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Frans Joubert, told New Era yesterday that Eiseb was put under quarantine until the animal health situation in the area is clarified.
Eiseb Block borders Botswana where there is a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, he said.
Botswana media said last week the Department of Animal Health and Production was making efforts to contain yet another outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the Ngamiland area after investigations indicated the presence of the disease.
Dr Joubert said some Namibians cut the border fence between the two countries and went into Botswana with horses.
“We do not know what they wanted or were planning to do, whether they wanted to poach or to steal livestock,” he said.
Botswana residents saw the border jumpers and reported them to the Namibian authorities after which the area was placed under quarantine.
Investigations are under way to determine whether livestock movement was involved in the process and to find out where the animals could be, said Joubert. It is an offence to cross into a country through ungazetted entry points. Yesterday police in Omaheke said they were not aware of the case.
An officer at Tallismanus police station, under which Eiseb reports, said although the officers patrol the border fence twice a month, they received no reports about the cut fence.
The official said residents of the bordering areas usually reported to veterinary officials for them to fix the fence and sometimes reported such cases to the police very late.
A team of officials is also in the area to mend the fence and to check on the health of the animals because the border falls outside the red line and the animal health status is still questionable.
This is the first time this year the border fence has been broken and the area placed under quarantine. Officials said sometimes they mend fences due to broken poles caused by wildlife jumping over the fence. Sometime this year, Gam was also put under quarantine.
Namibia has maintained three different zones for foot-and-mouth disease control – infected, buffer and surveillance zones – for the past 40 years even though the country has not had any foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.