RUSTLERS are on a rampage in Hurungwe district, leaving communal farmers counting losses, NewsDay has established.
Farmers in Tengwe, about 60km east of Karoi under Hurungwe East constituency, are the worst affected after some farmers recently woke up to empty cattle pens.
Some carcasses were recovered from a nearby bush.
Mashonaland West provincial deputy police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Aggary Jaure confirmed that farmers were having sleepless nights because of marauding rustlers.
“We have reports that three farmers’ lost seven cattle in Tengwe on 21 November and investigations are ongoing. The value is estimated at US$4 000 and nothing has been recovered yet,” said Jaure in a telephone interview.
She appealed to farmers to avoid leaving cattle unattended in grazing areas.
“We call on farmers to work closely as communities in protecting their cattle. The suspected rustlers target the cattle during the day by striking their legs to immobilise it. They will come later in the night to slaughter the cows leaving carcasses in the bush. This is an ongoing case that police are investigating.”
She urged farmers to build cattle pens near homesteads to minimise cases of rustling.
“Farmers must not make life difficult for themselves, but must work closely as communities and guard against rustlers that are reversing the gains of community development in our areas,’’ she said.
A communal farmer, Tobias Rucheka from Tengwe, claimed that rustlers were working closely with some butchery operators.
“The suspects are selling their loot to some unlicensed butcheries that have mushroomed in most towns and rural business centres. Police must investigate and launch operations that will limit stockthefts around Hurungwe,” he said.