Through their ongoing Kgomo-Khumo anti-stock theft operation in the area the police have established that stock thieves are using the pan as their target spot to round up and steal unbranded cattle.
In their mission to curb the alarming stock theft and cross-border cattle rustling cases in the area the police recently launched the ongoing Kgomo-Khumo anti-stock theft operation.
Police said some farmers’ lack of responsibility and accountability in branding and earmarking their cattle, worsen the problem, and as a result a majority of them (farmers) end up losing their cattle because they cannot identify them.
“Most of these stock theft cases end up in the favour of the thieves, who often engage attorneys because the said owners will fail to identify the cattle, either with the earmark and or brand,” the Botswana Police Service’s (BPS) public relations officer, Dipheko Motube said when quizzed about the progress of the operation.
Motube revealed that a majority of farmers in the area own hundreds of cattle, something that appears to be a challenge for them to be able to familiarise themselves with all of them.
“Some farmers in this area own more than 200 cattle individually hence the challenge of monitoring or even knowing them all. We have observed that as a result they even take time to brand or earmark calves something that is working as an advantage for thieves,” Motube said.
He said he has established that with their modus operandi the thieves just wait at the pan and pounce on cattle targeting those that are unbranded, especially the calves.
has a lot of water, and this is where all livestock goes for water. Some of the cattle go to watering holes unattended, making it easier for thieves to steal them. The thieves have kraals in the bush in the outskirts of villages like Mabutsane, Motokwe, Morwamosu to mention but a few, where they take the stolen cattle for branding and earmarking before selling them either to BMC or butcheries. The calves commonly known as zero tooth are in high demand in the market hence being the target for thieves,” he said.
Motube pointed out that stock theft has become a well paying job for those perpetrators because the demand for meat remains high, especially in urban areas like Gaborone.
He revealed to have also established that a majority of butcheries appear to be relying on stolen livestock for supplies hence making stock theft a paying job.
It has since been established that most of the meat consumed in Gaborone and major villages are from stolen livestock making stock theft one of the most lucrative undertakings.
He said since the launch of the operation mid last month they have arrested 25 suspects on different cases of stock theft involving 65 cattle, two goats and a sheep.
He said some of the suspects were brought before the courts to be convicted and currently are serving sentences whilst some their cases are still pending whilst on bail. He said, as a matter of concern they observed that a majority of the suspects are repeat offenders with similar previous convictions.