Zambian rustlers in court over 63 cattle

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SIX armed Zambian cross-border cattle rustlers infamously known as Kanjani Wena, yesterday appeared in the Hwange Regional Court for allegedly robbing Binga villagers of 63 cattle worth over $12 000 over a period of five years.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Davy Kadungule (32), Howard Siankulu (25), Titos Siapungwe (23), Tyson Kalapula (37), Kizito Simwenze and Stanford Mayemuna, whose ages were not given, of Kalilambizi and Siampondo areas in the Sinamsongwe district of Zambia, pleaded not guilty to stocktheft and robbery, but were convicted by Hwange regional magistrate for the Western Division, Dambudzo Malunga.

He remanded them in custody to tomorrow for sentencing.

Prosecutor Bheki Tshabalala told the court that between the winter of 2004 and August 2009, the six would cross the Zambezi River armed with an AK 47 into Binga where they would rob villagers of their cattle and drive them across the river into Zambia.

The court heard that during this period, the six crossed into Binga on six occasions raiding cattle from villagers and shot and injured a villager on one of the occasions before robbing him of 10 beasts.

Police from Hwange and Zambia embarked on a joint operation targeting the cattle rustlers following a major outcry by villagers on both sides of the Zambezi River.

On August 12 2009, four of the rustlers were arrested in Kalilambizi and Siampondo in Zambia after tip-offs from members of the public and kraal heads in the neighbouring country.

The other two were later arrested after committing similar cases in Kandebwe, Binga.

After their arrest, villagers that had lost their cattle were invited to the Hwange Police Station where they positively identified the six.

Cattle valued at $5 400 and meat worth $30 was recovered.