MORE than 16 000 suspects have been arrested this year for stocktheft and other related cases as police continue their crackdown on cattle rustlers.
According to statistics, 9 264 cattle have been stolen this year and police managed to recover 3 557 in 4 144 cases that were reported.
The cases were recorded between January and October. During the same period last year, 10 622 cattle were stolen and police recovered 3 381 of them in 4 978 cases that were reported.
Police national co-ordinator for Anti-Stock Theft Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura said of this year's suspects, 1 153 were cattle rustlers, while the other 14 873 were arrested for stock theft related cases.
He said they would continue carrying out operations to ensure that there was sanity countrywide.
"This coming Monday, we are also going to conduct an Operation code-named Nyamayabvepi Number 9 which will be targeting the holidays," said Asst Comm Dumbura.
Between June 18 and 24, Police Anti-Stock Theft Unit conducted an operation code-named Nyamayabvepi Number 7 aimed at checking abattoirs, butcheries and food outlets for stocking meat from stolen beasts.
During the operation, they closed 110 restaurants and seven abattoirs while three carcasses and 208kg of fish being recovered.
Asst Comm Dumbura said police would continue with the crime awareness campaigns and educating people, especially farmers, on the need to brand their cattle and putting adequate measures to ensure security of their livestock. At least 197 000 of the farmers have since obtained branding certificates after the exercise was launched in March last year. Between January and July this year, police arrested close to 4 000 suspected rustlers across the country. It is believed that some Mozambicans with the help of locals are involved in cattle rustling.
The suspects smuggle the livestock through illegal crossing points between the two countries.