HWANGE — Fifteen cattle reportedly stolen from Botswana have been recovered in Matabeleland North by police following an anti-stock-theft and anti-poaching operation launched last week.
The officer commanding Matabeleland North police, Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai, made the revelation in Hwange on Monday at a reception to honour Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese, who had earlier officially opened the town’s High Court circuit.
Veterai said a team of 250 police officers had been set up under the operation code-named Ruvhunambwa and Nyanga Yeropa targeting cattle rustlers and poachers. “Fifteen Batswana cattle have been recovered since the launch of the operation in which 250 police officers have been deployed to undertake the operations and very soon you will see the results,” he said.
The operation also saw the arrest last week of an assistant commissioner in the Zimbabwe Prison Service, Apinos Mudzamiri, and two alleged accomplices after they were found in possession of four elephant tusks and an unspecified quantity of mbanje.
Veterai said crime in Matabeleland North had gone down, a reflection that police were doing a commendable job.
“Crime in the province has decreased 13 percent, but the outstanding area of concern is domestic violence and sexual offences where children as young as four months are being raped,” he said.
“We ask the courts to give stiffer penalties so that they act as a deterrent.”
Veterai said roadblocks in the province had brought positive results as Matabeleland North had recorded zero deaths due to accidents during the festive season for the past four years.
“We have reduced traffic roadblocks since the outcry by the public. However, security roadblocks will remain in place,” he said.
“People don’t want to be arrested and from now onwards we are not going to arrest people, but escort them to court (sic).
“We should nurture the good relationship between the police and the public.”
There has been an outcry over the number of roadblocks on the country’s roads with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party alleging the police mounted roadblocks were being used to fundraise for Zanu PF.