Police out in full force in Beitbridge
MORE armed police details will soon be deployed to patrol along the Limpopo River, following reports that some armed criminals were now taking the area as a hideout where they are operating from and terrorising residents and farmers here.
This was revealed by the Anti-Stock Theft national co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza during a meeting he held at Lutumba in Beitbridge Rural with traditional leaders, senior officers, businesspeople, senior Government officials and farmers.
During the meeting, it was revealed that cattle rustlers and other criminals were using some areas along the Limpopo River to hide their loot and to even kill and skin the livestock. “We are going to heavily deploy armed personnel to patrol along the river and deal with armed criminals. Some of the criminals prefer using the river but would be armed and all we are saying is that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them,” Snr Asst Comm Makodza said.
He said they had also gathered information that some police details were being used by criminals to steal cattle among other nefarious activities.
“The police force does not condone such actions and all those police officers involved in such practices when arrested, they will face similar charges as those of criminals and they will be dealt with in terms of the law. We will discharge them from the force,” he said.
Snr Asst Comm Makodza said they were aware that some locals were crossing into neighouring countries such as South Africa to steal cattle which they would smuggle back into the country through illegal entry crossing points.
He said there were also some criminals in neighbouring countries who were doing the same.
Snr Asst Comm Makodza said they had come up with adequate strategies and measures to deal with these criminals in order to protect the national herd.
He said for the past years, they had been conducting joint operations with their counterparts which had resulted in the arrest of some of the criminals and recovery of both livestock and various goods.
Snr Asst Comm Makodza urged farmers and people to join the Village Anti-Stock Theft committees and work together with the police to curb criminal activities.
He said after joining such committees, they will be able to conduct night roadblocks and patrols with police officers.
Beitbridge District Anti-Stock Theft chairman Mr Samuel Mlauzi said over the weekend, six suspected cattle rustlers were apprehended in South Africa after they stole four beasts which they killed along the Limpopo River before selling the meat.
The six, who are all locals, are detained at Beitbridge Police Station and assisting police with investigations.
Headman Tshinoni also expressed concern over some of the criminals whom he said were operating from the neighbouring country.
Cde Ignatius Chombo