Four cattle rustlers arrested with stolen meat inside Otjiku

12 Feb 2015 12:50pm
OTJIWARONGO, 12 FEB (NAMPA) – Four suspected cattle rustlers aged between 34 and 55 years were arrested on Wednesday at two farms where they allegedly slaughtered eight cattle valued at N.dollars 67 000.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol)’s spokesperson in the Otjozondjupa Region, Warrant Officer Maureen Mbeha told Nampa on Thursday that the alleged crimes took place at Farm Grunewald and Farm Otjiku.
Five pregnant heifers were killed at Farm Grunewald, and three more young Brahmans at Farm Otjiku.
These two farms are situated adjacent to each other alongside the B1 road, she said.
Grunewald and Otjiku farms are situated approximately 85 kilometres (km) south-east of Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region.
According to Mbeha, the kinpin of the cattle theft is allegedly a 35-year-old male employee of Farm Otjiku.
It is alleged that he worked in cahoots with five other residents of Otjiwarongo, who camped on Farm Otjiku before they started slaughtering three cattle and drying the meat there.
The rustlers allegedly also jumped the boundary fence of Farm Grunewald and slaughtered five cattle there, skinned them and carried the fresh meat over to Farm Otjiku to their make-shift camp.
Volker Woortman, 58, is the owner of Farm Grunewald, and observed on Sunday that some of his cattle had not shown up at the drinking point.
He then engaged a group of anti-poaching squad members from Okahandja to conduct some foot patrols around the farm.
Mbeha said on Tuesday afternoon, the anti-poaching squad members on patrol came across a fresh slaughter-point inside Farm Grunewald.
Five fresh carcasses of heifers were found on top of each other at that point.
The anti-poaching squad then informed the police from Otjiwarongo, and teamed up to follow the footprints of the suspects.
The suspects’ footprints crossed over into Farm Otjiku.
A 44-year-old woman from Otjiwarongo was the first one to be caught after she was seen cutting meat near a temporary tent inside the farm.
Two more men aged 55 and 34 were also seen hanging meat on a wire inside Otjiku.
The police arrested the three suspects on the spot. Three other suspects, however, fled from the scene on foot.
One of the suspects who fled on Tuesday was apprehended on Wednesday night by the police in Otjiwarongo.
Two other suspects who are still at large are well-known to the police, Mbeha said.
Farm Otjiku belongs to Herman Awaseb.
Woortman on Wednesday expressed shock to find his five fattened heifers killed in this mysterious manner by rustlers.
“This is a huge loss for me, and it is not worthy to continue farming anymore,” he lamented.
On her part, Mbeha urged all farmers in the region to conduct regular patrols around their farms, and also to create clear-cut lines around their farm fences so that they can see any tracks entering or exiting their farms.
The four suspects are expected to appear in the Otjiwarongo Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Police investigations continue.