FIVE cunning cattle rustlers who stole 21 beasts from two Buhera villagers following a single night’s raid were arrested while transporting the livestock to a Ruwa abattoir using fake clearance papers.
Three of the suspects were arrested at a roadblock along Dorowa-Wedza Road, while the other two accomplices jumped off the truck and bolted from the scene.
Acting Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Chinyoka confirmed the arrest of Jarney Mumanyi (34), Austin Nyepai (24) and Gladmore Dzenzi (32) on stock theft charges.
He said a manhunt has since been launched for the fugitive suspects, Blessed Nyepai and his brother, Josiah.
Assistant Inspector Chinyoka said on December 10, the two complainants, Richard Kusisa and Pwanyiwa Nzembe penned their cattle as usual.
“The suspects teamed up and proceeded to Kusisa’s homestead and stole four cattle from the kraal. They went to Nzembe’s kraal and stole all the 17 cattle that were penned there. The suspects drove the 21 beasts to Murambinda-Muzokomba Junction near Manhuru Business Centre where they waited for their transporter, Dzenzi, who was driving from Harare.
“Dzenzi arrived at Murambinda-Muzokomba Junction around 2am driving a Hino truck. They loaded 11 cattle into the truck, leaving behind the other 10 beasts in the forest,” said Assistant Inspector Chinyoka.
The suspects proceeded to Harare where they expected to sell the beasts at an abattoir in Ruwa.
On their way to Harare, the suspects used the Dorowa-Wedza Road and passed through Mukamba where police officers from ZRP Wedza were manning a roadblock.
They were stopped at the block and the cops asked the suspects to produce clearance documents for the cattle.
One of the suspects handed over a veterinary permit which was purportedly issued on December 1 at Sadza Veterinary Offices and a police livestock clearance certificate which had purportedly been issued the same day at Sadza Police Station.
The police officers noted that there were 11 cattle in the truck against the nine allowed to move on the veterinary permit.
They also observed that the description of the cattle on the police clearance form did not match the cattle in the truck.
Upon interrogation, some of the suspects bolted from the scene.
The truck was ordered to drive back to Buhera for verification.
Along the way the truck passed through ZRP Murambinda where the stolen cattle were positively identified by relatives of the complainants.
The truck with 11 cattle and the remaining three suspects were handed over to ZRP Buhera.
Total value of the stolen cattle is $540 000.
All the 21 cattle were recovered.