Keep your livestock indoors to curb theft, official tells Siaya residents

A probox  carrying stolen cows intercepted by the Central Alego chief Felix Omudho together with villagers in Central Alego, Siaya County. There have been rising cases of livestock theft in Siaya County. 

Photo credit: Kassim Adinasi | Nation Media Group.

A senior government official has advised residents of Central Alego, Siaya County, to keep their animals indoors at night in order to reduce livestock theft.

Speaking at a function that brought together residents, Uranga Assistant County Commissioner Moses Rajab said locking in animals had helped reduce theft in other areas.

“There are some places where people live with animals. Every evening, they take the animals indoors and lock them in, and this has helped significantly in reducing the rate of cattle theft,” Mr Rajab said.

He added, “The youths who engage in this activity will also face the law. There are many income-generating activities that they can engage in. You must advise your brothers, husbands and sons that the law enforcement arm will be watching them closely.”

His calls come even as the theft of livestock has reportedly increased in Siaya County, especially in Central Alego, Alego Usonga sub-county, where many farmers have reported the cases.

The thieves reportedly use vehicles to ferry the livestock in the dead of night when the owners are fast asleep.

The latest incident took place one week ago, but Central Alego location Chief Felix Omudho and other community members recovered the stolen cows after a Toyota Probox that the thieves were using stalled.

“We managed to get the white Probox that the thieves used to ferry the cows. There were three mature cows and a calf in the vehicle,” Mr Omudho said.

Vehicle left behind

The thugs escaped, leaving the vehicle and the livestock behind. The animals were in police custody as investigations continue.

The affected farmers are counting losses after their animals were stolen. John Omwaro, a farmer in Central Alego, lost two cows to the thugs last month.

“I heard my dog bark. It was drizzling and when I went out with a spotlight I realised the shed was open. When I got closer, I realised two bulls were missing. They had long been ferried out of my compound,” said the 62-year-old retired civil servant.

Resident Philemon Odira suspects that the stolen livestock are slaughtered right away and the beef sold to the hotels and butcheries.

“It is likely that the animals are slaughtered immediately after they are stolen from the owners. You would not know that the beef is from your cow when it is at the butcher’s shop,” he said.

He also noted that cattle-rustling cases had risen with the rains that tend to fall at night.

“The frequent heavy rains at night are aiding the livestock thieves. They would break into the sheds where livestock are kept and stealthily leave with them without the owners hearing any noise,” he added.

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