HARARE, May 7– At least 934 cases of livestock theft were reported during the first three months of this year, marking a 33 per cent decline from the 1,393 cases reported in the corresponding period of 2013, according ro the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

Police national anti-stock theft co-ordinator Assistant Commissioner Bernard Dumbura told New Ziana here Tuesday that the decline was a result of a number of operations and campaigns conducted nationwide to curb the crime.

“The number of cattle stolen from January to March this year also declined to 1,944 from the 3,267 reported during the same period in 2013, marking a 40 per cent decline. We conducted a number of operations including ‘Operation Kwete Zvipfuyo Mumigwagwa’ targeting farmers and motorists,” he said.

“At least 3,219 campaigns were conducted countrywide and we reached 24,640 farmers, 15,308 motorists and arrested 726 farmers for letting their cattle onto the roads,” he said.

Dumbura said at least 70 head of cattle were recovered from April 14 to 27 this year during the Easter holidays.

According to the police, theft of livestock and indiscipline usually rise during public holidays because of the high demand for meat during these occasions.

“During the operation, we arrested 38 stock thieves and recorded 1,672 stock theft-related cases and in the process condemned 31 butcheries,” he added.

By early December last year, at least 8,877 head of cattle had been stolen with only a total of 3,832 recovered countrywide.

The government introduced stiff penalties for stock theft soon after the Land Reform Programme of 2000 following an upsurge in the crime in which cunning individuals stole from black farmers who had taken over farms from whites.