- Butcheries suspected to be aiding the crime
- Mokwetjepe sellers also under the police radar
Livestock theft in the Ngami area is said to be rising unabated despite efforts by farmers and the police to fight the crime. Of recent, farmers around the Lake Ngami area, those in Sehithwa and Toteng are crying foul after losing cattle to thieves at an alarming rate.
Livestock theft in the area has been a problem for farmers for a long time, with farmers having formed vigilant teams to fight the crime, but all seem to have been in vain. The issue has also been reported to government, with the same having been raised to President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Kgotla meeting in Maun.
Sehithwa Police Station Commander Superintendent Nshaki Mabophiwa has revealed that they have received many reports of livestock theft reports which is serious cause for concern to both farmers and law enforcement agencies.
The cause of the spike in cattle theft, according to Mabophiwa is the alleged illicit trade of beef with local butcheries, especially those operating in Maun.
He revealed that they have since launched an investigation on various local butcheries and street hawkers selling ‘Mokwetjepe’ in attempt to curb the illegal trade.
“This is because we highly suspect that the culprits might be selling the meat to these butcheries and those who are selling Mokwetjepe on the street,” Mabophiwa told this publication.
In one recent incident, farmers caught ad reported a suspect livestock thief in relation to an incident in which a cow was killed at Makgwelekgwele cattle post near Toteng village where only its intestines were found.
He noted that the police then went on a search for the suspects by following the footsteps since the car tracks varnished into the tarred road. He revealed that the footsteps then led them to a certain house which had no one inside at the time.
Mabophiwa noted that inside the said house they found a knife suspected to be the one that was used to kill the cow, some meat and bloody shoes. The following day some farmers went back to the said house where they found a 23-year-old man of Makgwelekgwele cattle post inside.
“They informed the police and we quickly rushed back to the house and arrested the suspected culprit,” he said. Mabophiwa revealed that the suspect confessed that he was with two other men who reportedly took the meat to Maun.
He added that the suspect is currently remanded in custody while investigations and the search for the other two men are still ongoing.
Mabophiwa has since advised farmers to continue helping them report such cases of livestock theft and anything that can lead the police to where the suspects might be taking the meat to.