A tip-off from the community led to the arrest of a man suspected of stealing a bull which he intended to sell at the informal butchery at Omuthiya, where demand for beef is high.
The suspect was arrested on Tuesday by the Oshikoto police after he failed to provide documents to prove he is the rightful owner of the bull.
The bull, with an ear tag number 01276500, has since been taken to the Omuthiya Police Station while the owner is yet to be traced.
“We were tipped off by one of the community that there was a man heading a bull to the slaughtering kraal, so people who are responsible for slaughtering at the kraal asked for documents and the suspect indicated he was not having any at the time, though he insisted that one person would bring the documents later. So they suspected something was fishy and alerted the police,” explained Warrant Officer Leonard Paulus while confirming the arrest.
Meanwhile the headman of Omuthiya sub-district Japhet Sheepo Paavo said he was also informed by a community member in the early hours of yesterday (Tuesday ) that there was a big bull in the kraal but it had an ear tag which is used for animals beyond the redline.
“We have areas where there are always cases of cattle theft, so we are not always keen on providing a date to such people before we verify ownership, and in this case the suspect never came with any letter indicating he was the owner,” noted the headman.
There are always procedures to follow when one has to slaughter cattle in Omuthiya, whereby a person intending to sell an animal should obtain a letter from the village headman indicating the person is authorised and that he is indeed its rightful owner.
After this the person will have to register with the headman of Omuthiya sub-district in order to be given a date while he (headman) still does some verifications to ascertain the animal was not stolen.
For the past few weeks the community has been revolting that the system must be abolished, alleging that Paavo has been using the system to milk the community’s money through a N$20 fee payable when booking a date for slaughter.
In addition they accused Paavo of being biased when giving dates – that he normally gives preference to his close friends and relatives.
Paavo hit back: “Now people that have been complaining about the system will be able to understand and learn that it (system) is there for a purpose such as curbing animal theft.
Now one has been saved, so if it wasn’t for this the bull could have been on the market somewhere now.”
He appealed to all farmers that have missing cattle to come forward to identify the bull if possible.