METHODIST Village families on the outskirts of Bulawayo are having sleepless nights as a result of stock thieves that are raiding the village at night to steal cattle, goats and chickens.
The village is part of Ward 17 under the jurisdiction of Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and has more than 100 homesteads and an estimated population of more than 1 000 people.
According to police, cases of stock theft in the area are on the increase and many families are losing their livestock daily.
Last week, police said a man lost five head of cattle in the same area and another one lost 18 goats.
When a Chronicle news crew visited the area yesterday, villagers said they were losing livestock to thieves regularly.
The latest stock theft case occurred on Sunday.
Villagers tracked down a suspect who stole Mr Mzamani Never Ncube’s goat from the village and recovered the carcass in Cowdray Park.
A villager, Mr Thabani Mahlangu said when Mr Ncube told them that his goat had been stolen, they followed footprints from the village to Cowdray Park.
“Along the way we found that they had slaughtered the goat and left the insides just about a kilometre from the homestead.
It took us hours to track the thief and we found him with goat meat in his house.
When we confronted him he didn’t deny the theft,” said Mr Mahlangu.
He said they handed the thief over to the police in Cowdray Park after effecting citizens’ arrest.
Another villager, Mr Vincent Tshuma said he lost cattle last year and has not seen justice after the suspects were caught.
“Since last year I have been waiting for word from them and nothing.
Those two are still out on bail.
I worked very hard to feed and raise those cattle thinking I’m doing it for a better tomorrow,” said Mr Tshuma.
He believes butcheries around the city are providing the market for cattle stolen from the village.
“Butcheries are buying either the stolen cattle or meat as these thieves are selling the cattle or meat for a ‘song’ as they want to quickly dispose of the meat or cattle.
We believe goats and chickens are being sold from houses in suburbs such as Luveve, Cowdray Park, Pumula and Nkulumane,” said Mr Tshuma.
Mr Zakheyowu Mzizi, also from the same village, said stock thieves were on the rampage in the village.
“This isn’t the first time that they have stolen livestock.
When they struck at my home they did not just steal chickens but also my bicycle,” said Mr Mzizi.
He called on the police to establish a base at the village to enable them to conduct night patrols as most of the stock thieves operate at night.
Mr Mzizi said unless action was taken to curb stock thefts in the area, they might be left with no option but to take the law into their hands.
Methodist Village chairman, Mr Makoni Sibanda said they encourage people to report theft cases to the police no matter how small.
He said goats were being targeted because they guarantee quick money, adding that about 20 goats that had been stolen so far.
“People are having sleepless nights because of these stock thieves who operate mostly at night.
There are, however, some daring ones that steal even during the day,” said Mr Sibanda.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said they had arrested Collin Nyathi (52) in connection with stock theft at Methodist Village.
He said the increase in stock theft cases on the outskirts of the city is a cause for concern.
“We urge the community to report persons that are selling meat from houses as they are either thieves or providing a market for stolen meat.
People should also avoid buying uninspected meat as doing is putting their lives at risk,” said Inspector Ncube. – @bonganinkunzi