New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Aminus Farmers Vow to Flush Out Rustlers

Police discovered the body of the 26-year-old Hijambepo 'Major' Kazeurua on Monday this week, after he had gone missing in December 27, 2012. Kazeurua was the chief of the Aminus Anti-Stock Theft. Farmers, traditional leaders and politicians are gravely concerned about the situation and have vowed to assist the Namibian Police in any way to flush out the culprits responsible for the death of Kazeurua. "We are dealing with well-organised bandits and cattle rustlers. The situation is getting out of hand," says chairperson of the Aminuis Farmers' Association, Peter Kazongominja.

According to the Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi the body of Kazeurua, as well as his vehicle were recovered this week and an autopsy would be carried out to determine the cause of his death. Nampa has reported that the charred body of Kazeurua was found bundled into a Aardvark burrow at Farm Brazil near Shaka in the Kalahari Constituency. Police suspect that Kazeurua, who farms in the Aminuis area, was first bludgeoned to death, since he was found with a deep stab wound at the back of his head.

A burned vehicle, positively identified as belonging to Kazeurua, was also found in the vicinity of the body, leading police to believe that the burned remains could in fact be those of the farmer. Reports say the late Kazeurua left home in search of stolen livestock and was supposed to meet with two suspects who would lead him to where the stolen livestock was hidden. He was never seen alive again. The gruesome killing has heightened the anger towards cattle hustlers and farmers have vowed to fight tooth and nail to flush them out.

"We are looking at every possible way of assisting the community police and the Namibian Police to bring to an end the spate of stock thefts that have increased dramatically since November last year. I lost ten prized Brahman/Bonsmara/Simmentaler crossbred animals when 11 young men stole some 20 cattle from the Okomboha settlement and sold them at auctions during the festive season," said Kazongominja.

Chief Berthold Tjiundje of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) told New Era that the operations of livestock thiefs in the area have the hallmarks of a well-organised crime syndicate. "We are all very concerned about what is happening. We as a community must analyse the situation and all work close together to put an end to this," said Tjiundje, adding that unemployment together with alcohol and drug abuse are at the root of the problem.

The traditional authority court has given the 11 youngsters who stole 20 cattle from the Okomboha settlement seven days to return the cattle to their rightful owners. If they are not able to repay everything in time, the authority will take whatever other livestock they possess. They will appear again before the traditional court in Aminuis. Freddy Koujo, senior traditional councillor of the Aminuis Constituency, says it is sad that members of the community are stealing from one another.

"The thieves are connected to well-organised gangs of cattle rustlers, and we are not dealing with a bunch of amateurs. We need to exhaust all avenues to stop the thieves once and for all. The thefts are already a very serious crime and with the murder of Major Kazeurua, the thugs have now sent out the message that they will kill to get what they want. It is of great concern, and the situation is getting out of control," said Koujo

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