Aminuis councillor implores traditional leaders to address stock theft

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Illegal slaughtering…Some of the 24 pregnant goats which were slaughtered and then loaded onto a truck in the OkondjaÞu communal area last week and are suspected to have been stolen.

Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro

WINDHOEK – Traditional leaders in the Aminuis Constituency must by the end of this month give him feedback how the increasing incidences of stock theft in the area can be combatted.

Councillor Peter Kazongominja says the stock theft in the constituency have become of much concern and can no longer be described as stock theft but the plundering of animals. With the savior drought which the area is currently experiencing with farmers aimlessly trekking from the area in search of grazing, cattle rustlers have been targeting cattle that seem to be in a better condition. Cattle are either loaded on to a truck with a trailer which by now is well known in the area and taken to Gobabis for marketing or slaughtered on the spot and the meat ferried outside of the constituency or even sold within the constituency to kapana operators. According to the councilor, cattle are hinted down in the veld from where they are loaded on to the truck or either they are simply gunned down and then loaded on to the truck.

Aminuis is not the only communal area that is wrestling with stock theft. Two weeks, a truck loaded with cattle, about 16, was sighted in the Epukiro Constituency between the villages of Otjijarua and Otjiwarongo and stopped by the community police who handed it over with the suspects to the Otjinene police, where owners had been expected to go and identify them. The cattle were believed to have been from the Eiseb communal area in the Otjombinde Constituency. How they ended up in the truck in the Epukiro Constituency and where they were being taken defies logic. Five of the cattle understandably died when they fall from the truck while others survived the fall.

Likewise, early last week suspects were apprehended with 24 pregnant goats with their throats slit and loaded onto a truck in the Okondjatu communal area. Meanwhile, Uahatjiri Makono, a farmer from the village of Otjijarua and traditional leaders in the Epukiro Constituency and a member of the constituency’s community stock theft unit, informs that another stolen cow from the constituency has been traced to Okondjatu and they are investigating the case.

The rising incidences of stock theft aside, Councillor Kazongominja is especially also concerned about the lack of police cooperation in this regard pointing out that he is not aware of any instance in his constituency of the police apprehending rustlers despite regular tipoffs from the community. On the other hand, the community police that has been proactive in this regard had little cooperation from the police, despite their increasingly exposing themselves to risk, in view of the fact that they do not have any protection, nor back up of the national police.

Hence, his appeal to the traditional leaders to interrogate this issue, including how the community police can be empowered, and also importantly be compensated. Also he implored the traditional leaders to also look at the current loophole of them writing out testimonies for carrying meat which the councillor says currently they do so without verifying the legitimate source of the meat for which the testimony is sought. Kazongominja says the traditional leaders have delegated this function to their agents, who also do not do the necessary follow up to ensure that the meat has been acquired truthfully.

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