BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Over 50 families in Chilonga area in Chiredzi were left counting their losses after they lost between 10 and 15 cattle each to marauding thieves.
According to the cattle owners, several police dockets for suspected cattle rustlers that were arrested in the past are either gathering dust in Chambuta Police Station or disappeared.
Police in Chiredzi arrested six suspects on September 13, for stock theft cases which occurred in Chilonga area, Chikombedzi.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, police spokesperson, said detectives received information that three suspects were driving a head of 16 cattle towards Triangle from Chilonga area.
“They acted on the information and set an ambush at Buffalo Ranch, leading to the arrest of the three suspects, who upon being interviewed implicated three other suspects.
“So far 27 cattle, valued at US$8 100 have been recovered. Investigations are underway,” said Nyathi.
Villagers, who lost over 200 cattle have accused police offices based at Chambuta Police Station, butchery owners and one of the biggest abattoirs in Masvingo province of being behind the stock theft.
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Eight months ago, Tinashe Gwenyaya, a Chiredzi butchery owner and three accomplices were arrested on allegations of stock theft involving 27 cattle.
Gwenyaya was found with 18 hides of cattle and nine live beasts.
Gwenyaya and his three accomplices from Village 5 Extension area in Triangle allegedly stole 27 herd of cattle on different occasions from different homesteads and grazing areas. They have since appeared before the courts facing stock theft charges.
Philip Kasha, a village head, said he recently found his missing cow penned at an abattoir awaiting slaughter.
Kasha said in another incident they tracked stolen cattle in May, 2020 and apprehended Musisinyani Mupfopfo and Tinashe Makonya,who had slaughtered the beasts.
The suspects were handed over to police at Chambuta but they were set free.
“Myself and other village heads are appealing to the police headquarters to close Chambuta Police Station because it is of no use to us,” he said.
“Those suspects were never arrested despite openly admitting that they had committed the crime. Even those who helped them with transport have been roaming freely since then.
“We can’t have a police station being used as a centre of corrupt activities.
“We are mobilising and very soon we are going to stage a demonstration to have the police post removed from our area.
Nyathi said he could not comment on allegations against police officers in Chambuta.
“At the national level, we are not aware of what’s going on down there,” he said.
“I think someone from the provincial level will try to get information so that investigations can be carried out.”