Members of the Zimbabwe National Army have been fingered in cattle rustling syndicates operating in Masvingo province, with reports indicating that 300 cattle were stolen since January this year.
In an interview with New Zimbabwe last week, Masvingo Beef Producers Association (MBPA) chairman Robert Makhado said that the troops shoot the cattle at night, slaughter them and carry the meat to various districts across the country. He said:
All our districts in the province are affected and we have evidence that armed military personnel are now part of the cattle rustling business and beef producers in the province are now living in fear.
We have reported each armed stock theft case to the police and as an association, we are pleased by the police investigations.
Police have managed to provide us with evidence implicating soldiers who came as far as Birchenough Bridge (on the fringes of Manicaland).
Some soldiers have been arrested and taken to court but their cases die a natural death in the courts and our members are now worried.
Makhado urged the government to intervene and deal with the crisis as farmers risk losing their major source of wealth and livelihood.