Farm owner charged for shooting alleged stock thief

30 November 2021 | Crime

Elvira Hattingh



GROOTFONTEIN

The spate of stock theft in the Grootfontein area was once again brought to a head this past weekend when a farm owner caught a suspected stock thief with a slaughtered cow and apparently shot at his vehicle, injuring him in the process.

A charge of attempted murder has been laid against a farmer, although no one has yet been arrested in connection with the shooting.

According to the Namibian police's crime report from Sunday, a 23-year-old Namibian was shot on Saturday around 20:00 after he allegedly went "hunting" with a friend.

The farm owner apparently followed the duo and shot at them. The 23-year-old was wounded in the left leg, and was taken to the Grootfontein hospital. His condition is stable.

The incident took place on the farm Otjirukaku on the B8 road, the police said.

According to rumours and photos circulating on social media, the slaughtered cow was found in the injured man and his passenger’s possession, amongst other things.

He was apparently wounded when a shotgun was fired at his car and the bullet entered the vehicle.

Breeding ground

The farm is located near the John Pandeni research farm, which - according to farmers from the area - is a "breeding ground" for livestock crime, from which numerous criminal activities allegedly originate.

Farms bordering the state farm have especially suffered from stock theft over the past year, with one farmer saying 14 cattle were slaughtered in just October and November. This after five men were arrested on 19 November for slaughtering a pregnant Simmentaler stud cow belonging to Mecki Schneider of farm Okamutombe.

Farm workers informed Schneider that they heard dogs barking and gunshots around 21:00 from the camp where his cattle were grazing.

Schneider's son Reimo informed the police and - with the help of a police reservist, the town's neighborhood watch and a private security company - set up an ambush. They found two cars at around 03:30 on 20 November, with suspects loading the cow's carcass from one car to another.

According to a police report, the value of the cow was about N$35 000.

Hotbed

Grootfontein seems to be a hotbed of livestock and game theft in the country, similar to the Witvlei, Kalkfeld, Otjiwarongo and Omaruru areas, as well as certain parts of the south.

Sylvia Goosen, who farms on Amrib outside Grootfontein with her husband Willem, said they and their neighbours have been badly affected by thieves.

Since 2020, livestock worth N$291 000 has been stolen from their farm.

"We have herdsmen who walk permanently with the cattle in the veld and, despite that, they are still slaughtered," she said. She added that the police do not provide any assistance to them.

"In October we came across a freshly slaughtered cow. We probably called 20 policemen. In the end, we called one of the police chiefs, who tried to call the officers on his radios but could not get hold of them. We finally got a reservist to help us. Nothing happens here, no one is caught.

"Here in the valley, farmers' cattle are shot from the road with a .22 rifle," she said.

At one of their neighbours’ farms, 48 ??sheep were stolen from a kraal in broad daylight within two months, while another neighbour’s endurance horses were slaughtered.

Other farmers from the area who suffered severely from livestock crime include stud farmer Silvia von Biljon, Hagen Eggert, Hansie Coetzee and Willie Louw.

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