Cat­tle rustlers de­vise new method

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/national News - Whins­ley Masara Chron­i­cle Reporter

PO­LICE have sent a spe­cial unit to in­ves­ti­gate cases where rustlers are shooting cat­tle and tak­ing away the car­cases in trucks in Esigo­dini and Mbe­m­besi.

Vil­lagers have raised con­cern at the in­creas­ing num­ber of in­ci­dents that they say started about two months ago in Mata­bele­land North Prov­ince.

The po­lice National Co­or­di­na­tor of Anti-Stock Theft Se­nior As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Eras­mus Makodza yes­ter­day con­firmed the shooting in­ci­dents.

“We have de­ployed se­cu­rity forces and an in­ves­ti­ga­tions team to go on the ground and see to the mat­ter,” he said.

“We have re­ceived re­ports from Mbe­m­besi where three cat­tle were shot on Sun­day night and the car­casses, of­fals and hides were dis­cov­ered. In the mean­time, we are not able to say who is be­hind the shoot­ings but in­ves­ti­ga­tions are un­der­way.”

Vil­lage head Mr De­cem­ber Moyo of Mpisini Vil­lage in Ward 14 in Esigo­dini, said vil­lagers have lost scores of cat­tle to the rustlers.

He said pre­vi­ously shoot­ings oc­curred at night, but last Monday some shots were fired in the af­ter­noon.

“I have wit­nessed a num­ber of shot cat­tle dying in the vil­lage. Three were shot in the past days and are re­cov­er­ing. Ev­ery night we hear five to 10 gun shots and know that one of the vil­lagers has lost a beast.

“This group is tar­get­ing espe­cially graz­ing ar­eas where ev­ery­one drives their cat­tle for pas­tures. Now it has be­come very risky to send your cat­tle to the graz­ing land but one can’t keep their cat­tle in the kraal,” he said.

Mr Moyo said it was wor­ry­ing that po­lice seem not to be treat­ing the mat­ter with ur­gency.

“Vil­lagers now live in fear espe­cially fol­low­ing the Monday in­ci­dent where gun shots were heard in broad day­light. These thieves will in­jure peo­ple very soon. Only blood stains and some in­nards from the cat­tle re­main,” he said.

A vil­lager who pre­ferred anonymity said so far he has lost two beasts. He said he re­ported the loss to the po­lice.

“As we speak two other vil­lagers, Washington Khu­malo and one only iden­ti­fied as Moyo were lucky as their beasts were only wounded.

“One was shot last Satur­day night while the other two were shot last Monday around noon. They re­moved the bul­lets and are nurs­ing their cat­tle at home,” he said.

On Sun­day night, a vil­lager dis­cov­ered hides of three cat­tle that had been shot, un­der the fly­over in Mbe­m­besi, while rustlers wounded three beasts in Esigo­dini last week.

Mr Sikhum­buzo Ndlovu dis­cov­ered three heads, of­fals, hides and hooves un­der the fly over bridge, at the rail­way line at Heany Junc­tion and re­ported the mat­ter to neigh­bour­hood watch com­mit­tee mem­ber, Mr Mz­ing­wana Ndlovu.

A vil­lager, Khaya Ma­soka said the two made in­quiries and dis­cov­ered that two of the cat­tle be­longed to Mr Kelvin Ma­soka.

“Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that the cat­tle had gun­shot wounds in the heads and they were slaugh­tered. Tags and cat­tle brands helped them to iden­tify the own­ers,” he said.

The other head was iden­ti­fied as that of a beast be­long­ing to Mr Jonathan Mbuyazo of Zim­bili Ex­ten­sion.-@win­nie_­masara

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