25 Jan 2014 19:50pm
By Anna Salkeus
WINDHOEK, 24 JAN (NAMPA) Less livestock were stolen countrywide last year than in 2012 and indications are it had something to do with the ongoing drought.
Statistics made available by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) indicate that 401 less cases of stock theft were reported in 2013 than the year before.
Off the livestock stolen in 2013, 916 arrests were executed in that regard.
The Head of NamPols Public Relations Division, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi told Nampa on Wednesday the decrease in cases reported came as a result of the drought experienced last year around the country.
He said because of the severe drought experienced, farmers either sold their animals when they realised that their stock was affected by the drought or alternatively let them die due to lack of food and water.
Our community policing efforts also contributed to a decrease in the stock theft cases reported to the force, said Kanguatjivi.
Statistics for 2012 reveal that a total of 4 589 heads of cattle were stolen, and 9 863 heads of small livestock.
In 2013, 3 424 heads of big livestock were stolen, and 5 676 heads of small livestock.
Statistics for the four northern regions, prominent for livestock farming, revealed that stock worth about N.dollars 1,1 million was reported stolen in 2012, of which only N.dollars 415 982 worth of livestock were recovered in that same year.
Last year, livestock worth N.dollars 991 600 were reported stolen in the Ohangwena Region, and only N.dollars 339 800 worth of livestock were recovered by the end of that year.
One of the arrests made was of a headman in that region, who was suspected of organising the theft of donkeys with his accomplices, and then selling them to those who needed them to plough their mahangu fields.
Kanguatjivi noted that the periods that yielded an increase in stock theft were also attributed to environmental factors like rain in the areas.
The Namibian Police also noted that during some periods, the value of stock fluctuated because of factors like the type of breed or area of breed which varies from region to region. In some regions, the value of stock increases as a result of competition, and in other regions the value may have decreased.
Small stock stolen were mainly used for commercial, private and farming purposes.
He also noted that some cases were not reported immediately after the animals were stolen and in some instances, theft of stock was only reported months after the incident occurred.
Some of the latest reports involve inheritance-related issues, and farmers failing to mark their animals to identify them, said the deputy commissioner.
He also attributed the loss of livestock to unsupervised stock roaming around freely, and a lack of control or farm management.
Kanguatjivi urged farmers to connect themselves to farm associations as well as farmers' forums, which work in conjunction with the police, and to report any incidences of stolen livestock immediately as well as any suspicious movements around their farms.