POLICE in Plumtree have smashed a cattle rustling syndicate operating in Bulilima and Mangwe districts that reportedly stole over 200 beasts.
BY RICHARD MUPONDE
This follows the arrest last week of alleged gang leader Bernard Moyo, leading to the recovery of 61 beasts.
The recovered cattle are being held at Plumtree veterinary department holding pens under police guard.
Most of the stolen cattle are from Matole, Izimnyama, Macingwana, Silima, Tekwane, Diba and Tjankwa areas.
Moyo, who is believed to be the ringleader of the apparently well-oiled syndicate, once worked for a renowned butchery in Plumtree.
The gang reportedly targeted cattle belonging to resettled farmers and transported them to abattoirs around Plumtree for slaughter and some to as far as Bulawayo.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele yesterday confirmed the arrest and recovery of the beasts.
“I confirm that we have busted a cattle rustling syndicate operating in Plumtree after the arrest of a suspect, leading to the recovery of 61 beasts. Police investigations are still underway and more beasts are expected to be recovered. However, we intend to travel to Plumtree tomorrow (today) and will furnish you with a detailed report,” Ndebele said.
A source close to the matter said the gang had wreaked havoc with many villagers losing their cattle despite numerous reports being made at Plumtree police.
“The gang had been a headache for farmers. Most of their victims are resettlement farmers on the outskirts of Plumtree town. The gang had been under police surveillance for some time now. We are happy a breakthrough has finally been found,” he said.
The arrest of the suspect comes two weeks after livestock farmers in West Nicholson, Matabeleland South, who had reportedly lost about 100 beasts in the past few months, called on the police to increase patrols in the area to curb cases of stocktheft.
Most of the affected farmers, whose cattle graze at Mashura Ranch, suspect their beasts were being sold to abattoirs in Bulawayo.