By Thupeyo Muleya
Police have expressed concern over an upsurge in cases of stock theft in Beitbridge district amid reports that organised cattle rustling syndicates have invaded the district.
The officer commanding Beitbridge District, Chief Superintendent Patrick Majuta said it was revealed during a district crime consultative meeting held at Lutumba Business Centre yesterday that 131 cases of stock theft were reported between January and December last year.
He said 143 cattle, 98 donkeys, 32 sheep, 290 goats and 201 chickens were lost.“As police we are worried about rampant theft of livestock around Beitbridge District. We are fully aware that livestock farming is the main agricultural activity in this area hence we have intensified the fight against stocktheft.
“It is shocking that out of 143 cattle that were stolen last year we only recovered 53 and our worry is that some cases go unreported.
“We are therefore calling on members of the public to complement our efforts in the fight against stock theft, which is a threat to efforts to boost the national herd,” he said.
Chief Supt Majuta said they had tightened regulations controlling the movement and sale of livestock.
“We have introduced brand and sales registers of all livestock that will be kept by both traditional leaders and the police for easy accountability and crime detection.
“We have realised that some of these cattle are being transported during the night and we are going to train traditional leaders on how to complete the registers and we will also deploy police officers to all abattoirs in the district in an effort to reduce thefts,” he said.
The spokesperson of the Beitbridge Farmers Association Salatiel Muleya urged traditional leaders and the local authority to complement police efforts in fighting the scourge.