ELEVEN farmers in Mvurwi recently lost 46 goats in separate incidents to unknown thieves who stole them while they were grazing unattended.
Such cases have been on the increase and it is suspected that the goats are being sold in towns and cities where there are ready markets.
Most of them are sold to unscrupulous butchery and restaurant operators who slaughter them for resale while others are sold to individuals for meat, among other purposes.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the incident.
“On September 25, 2021, police in Mvurwi recorded reports of 46 stolen goats at Earling Farm, Mvurwi. The goats were stolen at grazing lands from eleven complainants. Investigations are in progress,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said investigations were still in progress and warned stock thieves that the police have been heavily deployed to thwart such activities.
In July, at least nine farmers in Bindura lost 51 goats to thieves, who were travelling in a white commuter omnibus.
Police said the thieves went to Chipadze Farm where they stole the goats before loading them in the omnibus and disappeared. No arrests and recoveries were made and police are appealing for information that might lead to the arrest of the suspects.
On average, between 5 000 and 10 000 cases of stock theft have been reported per year in Zimbabwe during the past few years.
The ZRP Anti-Stock Theft Unit has over the years intensified its campaigns, deployments and community-based initiatives to fight animal theft.
In June, Police in Mahusekwa intercepted a green Mercedes Benz Sprinter (registration number ADC 3834), along the Harare-Hwedza Road.
The vehicle was loaded with 22 goats at around 2.30 am. A police patrol team waved the driver of the vehicle to stop but failed, resulting in a high-speed chase.
Police said the driver later stopped and together with four other occupants vanished into the darkness. The goats were recovered, but no report that they were stolen had been made.
Police in Gweru recently busted a four-member gang from Zhombe that was hunting down villagers’ goats and sheep in the pastures in Lower Gweru, slaughtering them and selling the meat to unsuspecting people.
The four suspects are Samson Mativenga (53), his son Abel (16), James Siziba (22) and Only Sithole (22), all from Chief Samambwa in Zhombe.