Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Castle rustlers rattle Bobirwa

Botswana Police Service (BPS) says a new strategy has to be formulated to combat stock theft that has ravaged the Bobirwa area.

This follows an announcement that government has established a commission of inquiry led by former Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) head Gabriel Seeletso to investigate cattle rustling in the area.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi visited the area recently and promised his government will do all in its power to arrest the situation.

Paramount chief of Barolong Kgosi Letlamoreng says he wishes that the newly appointed commission of inquiry investigates cattle rustling not only along the border village in Bobirwa but also extend to his area as stock theft is also rife. Speaking to this publication, north central divisional commander senior assistant police commissioner Christopher Mbulawa said cattle theft along border villages in Bobirwa needs a new strategy in order to combat the scourge.

“Both law enforcement agencies have to formulate a new strategy to combat stock theft which has become a thorn,” he said.  He explained that stock theft in those areas has long been there and such crime is highly sophisticated and complex.   He said BPS has not made any in-depth investigations to establish whether this crime is made up of a criminal syndicate or syndicates and most importantly the black market in Zimbabwe where these stock thefts are often sold.

“At the moment we are still speculating but we do not have any concrete evidence in order to address the matter,” he says. He said BPS recently intercepted about 100 goats that were allegedly stolen from Zimbabwe and were on their way to South Africa. He said between 2019 and 2021 a good number of livestock was stolen and police made few recoveries.

He said both police commissioners from Botswana and Zimbabwe met and discussed about the matter in which a kgotla meeting was held with farmers.  He added that Inspector general from Zimbabwe promised to establish police camps in order to fight stock theft and ensure that joint patrol operations continue. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 the joint patrols were suspended and both parties are still finding ways on how to resume such important exercises, he said.

Mbulawa however indicated that BPS welcomes the establishment of the commission as it will go deeper to address the root cause and come up with sound recommendations that will eventually curb the scourge.  Meanwhile Kgosi Letlamoreng of Barolong said “It will be very important that whatever recommendations that will be made by the commission should also be applied to border villages across the country”.

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