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Cattle rustling; a deadly business


Karimojong cattle  rustlers are using the COVID-19 lockdown to continue cattle rustling in Agago district that boarders Karamoja Sub-region, mainly in the areas of Piamol, Lira Palwo and Adilang Sub Counties in Acholi Sub-Region    


AGAGO-UGANDA: By 1986 Karamojong cattle rustlers had raided most livestock from Acholi Sub Region. It first started from the districts that borders Karamoja sub-region in former greater Kitgum district especially in the sub-counties of Paimol, Adilang and Lira Palwo.


Mr. Opiyo Ojok Leonard, the Chairman of Agago District Local Government has urged the Government of Uganda to deploy Local Defense Units (LDU) in Agago, a district that boarders Karamoja, to scale down the Karimojong attacks.


The district Chairman says this year alone three people have so far been killed by the rustlers, while nine have been wounded during the raids. This put the lives of the people at risk since most of the people killed were from their garden.


He notes that in Adilang, 163 cattle have been raided and out of which, 80 have been recovered.


Initial reports indicate that armed rustlers suspected to have crossed from Kotido district on Friday night raided Kiloko Itiyo village in Loperebong Sub County and Matakula village in Omiya Pacwa Sub-county looting 11 animals from local farmers.   But Adilang Sub County Councilor Mr. Santo Sans Ongom says seven animals that were looted from his area were recovered near Adoma rock in Anyami village in Lapyem parish on Saturday. He says the suspected rustlers abandoned the animals following the intervention of armed Anti-Stock Theft Unit [ASTU] personnel who followed them before crossing into Karamoja.   Mr. Ongom says the recovered animals are yet to be given back to their rightful owners in Kiloko Itiyo village.   Agago Resident District Commissioner Mr. Linos Ngompek says that another four animals that were stolen from Lapono sub-county on Sunday were also recovered on the same day by Local Defence Unit soldiers from Kotido District.   Mr. Ngompek says although the security teams have heightened deployment of security personnel along the Agago-Karamoja borderlines, the intrusion of rustlers persists as a result of limited personnel manning the borderline. Adding that in Paimol Sub County alone, 146 cattle have been raided by the cattle rustlers, and, although 65 cattle have been recovered from the warriors. 50 cattle are still missing.


Mr. Okello John, 80 years old and resident of Parabongo Kuywee says his son, Okidi James (RIP) who was 50 years old was killed from his garden, but his wife and children escaped with injuries during the raid.


“My son was caught and tied up on the tree and his head was smashed with machetes, while his body was left hanging on tree, this is a painful death the Karimojong warriors administered on my innocent son”, Mr. Okello insists.


He said in Paranbongo Sub County the rustlers went with 50 cattle, most of which were raided at the time people had just gone to bed. “By the time we realized at about 3am the rustlers had crossed the areas”, one survivor says.


Mr. Opiya Mike 60 years old, from Omiya Pacwa disclosed that the communities of Omiya Pacwa have lost 90 goats to the rustlers. The cattle rustlers are using COVID-19 curfew hours to rustle cattle.


“Before the COVID-19 lockdown, we had our youths who were deployed as vigilantes to monitor strange persons who might cross into Acholi Sub Region through the porous border.” says Mr. Opiya .


Dr. Okidi John of Molar Health Center in Gulu town says 13 Karimojong rustlers died in raids during COVID-19 lockdown. He said in the past before the 1979 when the then Government of President Idi Amin was toppled, many guns were left behind which ended up in the hands of Karimojong warriors which are now being used for raiding.


In 1986 when the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), the then government of General Tito Okello fell, Karimojong took the chance and deserted with guns mostly those who were under the General Tito’s army. The guns that later were used to raid the Acholi Sub Region  





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