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.
More: New Zimbabwe
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The Zimbabwe National Army is the country's military wing which was established with the role of ensuring territorial integrity, peace, stability and security. The force was established in 1980 after the country attained its Independence from colonial rule. Read More About Zimbabwe National Army
Masvingo Province is one of Zimbabwe's ten provinces. It covers mainly the south-eastern parts of the country and its administrative capital is Masvingo city. The province was previously known as Victoria Province in colonial Rhodesia. Read More About Masvingo Province
Birchenough Bridge is a bridge in the Manicaland Province which is the third longest single-arch span in the world. The bridge is about five miles south of the junction of the Sabi with the Odzi River and provides direct communication by the main road between... Read More About Birchenough Bridge