Sukulwenkosi Dube- Matutu, Plumtree Correspondent
VILLAGERS from Bulilima District continue to lose their cattle as Botswana authorities are shooting beasts that stray into their country.
Two villagers from Mafeha Village lost a combined seven cattle on Wednesday after authorities from the neighbouring country shot their beasts in the presence of their owners.
A group of villagers who had lost their cattle to thieves who are suspected to be from Botswana were escorted by local police officers to the neighbouring country, but they failed to recover the beasts.
Mrs Simangele Ndlovu (38) said six of her cattle were shot as she watched.
“Last week eight of my cattle were stolen from the village and we traced their spoors to the borderline. I reported the matter to the police and I was later told that some stray cattle suspected to be from Zimbabwe were recovered in Botswana and I was supposed to identify mine.
“I’m not the only one who lost cattle that day. We went to Botswana and of the seven cattle that we found six had my brand mark. I was hoping that the cattle were going to be returned to me as I had identified them but they were shot as I watched,” said Mrs Ndlovu.
She said she initially had 10 cattle in her kraal and now she was left with two. Mrs Ndlovu said thieves from the neighbouring country stole their cattle from grazing areas in the middle of the night.
She said even when the border fence was secure the thieves cut it to drive stolen cattle into their country.
“Now that six of my cattle have been shot this means I have lost all my wealth and my efforts have gone to waste,” she said.
Mr Anderson Ndlovu who is from the same village had four beasts stolen and he identified one which was also shot.
Headman Senganyondo whose jurisdiction covers the area where the beasts were stolen said seven animals were recovered dumped in Makaleng Village under Masunga Police Station. He said the thieves had driven the cattle for about 40 kilometres from the border line.
Botswana authorities recently shot 22 Zimbabwean cattle that were reportedly stolen by thieves from the neighbouring country who went on to dump the cattle in a bushy area. The cattle were stolen from four villagers in Nswazi area in Bulilima District.
Botswana authorities recently started implementing a shoot to kill policy which permits them to shoot all cattle that stray into their territory.
Authorities from the neighbouring country said they had resorted to this policy because stray Zimbabwean cattle were affecting beef exports due to incidences of foot and mouth disease.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Obedingwa Mguni recently urged villagers to monitor their cattle from straying into Botswana.
He also appealed to local Chiefs to engage their Botswana counterparts over the matter.