By Mantoetse Maama
MASERU — A 46-year-old suspected of stock theft was found dead by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) undertaking an operation to recover stolen livestock in Tšehlanyane, Butha-Buthe last week.
The deceased man and three others had been found herding 13 stolen cattle and tried to flee when they encountered the soldiers.
Police spokesperson Lebohana Mohloboli said four men were found herding 13 cattle by members of LDF.
“When members of LDF appeared, they tried to run away but one of the men aged 25 was caught immediately. Another suspect was found lying dead in a valley while two others are still at large,” Mohloboli said.
“It was not clear what caused the death. We already have the details of the suspects who ran away and we will soon catch them,” he said.
Around 72 sheep were reported missing in Qacha’s Nek and 58 of the stolen sheep were found in Matatiele.
Two sheep were found dead while 10 are still missing.
In Butha-Buthe a 25-year-old man was found in possession of 50 stolen sheep. It had been reported earlier that 125 sheep were missing in Butha-Buthe.
Meanwhile, a 34-year-old man in Thaba-Tseka was found in possession of four stolen cattle.
Mohloboli warned the public to desist from crime.
“From now on, we are no longer going to rest,” he said. “We will go after them day or night. If they don’t co-operate, we will deal with them through legal procedure.”
Cross border stock-theft between Matatiele and Qacha’s Nek is so rampant the police compound in the district is always teeming with lost or recovered livestock awaiting identification by owners.
Sometimes Basotho villagers steal livestock from South Africa just across the border while in turn South African villagers from the same areas also steal livestock from Basotho farmers.
In most cases the battles have ended in bloodshed as the warring villagers use guns to either recover their cattle or defend their loot.
It is also becoming increasingly common for stock thieves to exchange stolen livestock for guns or dagga.