By Petronella Sibeene
The Police Regional Commander for Otjozondjupa, Anghuwo Joseph Anghuwo, says stock theft and poaching continue to haunt his region.
And to compound matters, there are some greedy farmers who report fake ‘thefts’ of livestock.
The new underhand method involves livestock farmers who allow their accomplices to take their livestock that are then reported to the police as ‘stolen’ and then sold.
After the animals have been ‘sold’ to unsuspecting buyers, these devious farmers then phone the police giving them clues about where the cattle have been sold. After the animals are found and confiscated, the buyer loses both his newly-acquired livestock and the money.
The farmers and stock thieves then share the money while at the same time they get back the cattle that were initially reported as ‘stolen,’ said the police commander.
He noted this scam is very common among some communal farmers who have devised a way of making a quick buck from people desperate to increase their livestock.
During the festive season alone, the Stock Theft Unit of the Namibian Police in that region recovered 27 head of cattle worth N$88 000, 21 goats, four cattle carcasses, five goat carcasses, two oryx, two eland and 190 kilogrammes of dry meat sold in such a manner.
The regional commander said police in the region are ever on the move to trace stolen animals and to apprehend the culprits.
“The success rate is high because the police officers are on high alert at all times,” he said.
This week members of the police recovered seven cattle in the Okakarara area.
Anghuwo said stock theft cases are common in the Okakarara, Outjo, Osire and Otavi areas.
Since June 2007 when the stock theft and anti-poaching units was established, members of the public, unlike in the past, have also gained confidence in the work of the police regarding their cases of stolen animals.
Culprits mainly use spears and dogs trained to attack game such as kudu and oryx.
Some thieves also use hooks made out of wire to ensnare the animals by the neck.
These poachers mostly camp within the farm in a place where they know a farm owner would rarely patrol.
Anghuwo cautioned farmers to ensure they patrolled their farms thoroughly.
Some thieves especially in the case of poaching also use firearms.
The regional commander, the chief regional inspector for operations and one staff member of the stock theft unit will next week tour the region and hold meetings with relevant people in communities regarding this problem in that area.
“From Monday next week until Friday, we will travel throughout Otjozondjupa to meet with important people and exchange views on what the police can do and vice-versa.
“The meetings will also encourage the public to surrender firearms to the police,” he added.
He called on culprits to refrain from such practices and for the public to cooperate with the police in the fight against crime.