Obongi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 106 heads of cattle have been impounded for illegal entry and destruction of crops in Obongi district. The region has been struggling to contain an influx of internal and external pastoralists searching for water and pasture for their livestock over the last three years.
An estimated 5,000 pastoralists mainly from the Karamoja region entered the north with over 10,000 livestock. The region also had an influx of pastoral communities from South Sudan and Kenya, who entered through the West Nile and Karamoja borders.
But in 2019, President Yoweri Museveni directed the army to eject pastoralists who had crossed into parts of northern Uganda with herds of cattle, following an uproar resulting from the massive destruction of crops caused by the animals.
However, several pastoralists have sneaked in quietly back into West Nile, and settled in areas along river Nile in Madi Okollo district. Here, they are being forced by the unfriendly dry season to move to areas of Yumbe, Obongi and Moyo in search for pasture and water for their animals.
Obongi Resident District Commissioner Gore Goffin said that several acres of crops were destroyed in Liwa village, Gimara sub county in recent days when the animals ravaged plantations in search for food. However, he adds that the owners of the animals have been fined 3.5 million Shillings. According to Goffin, the pastoralists came from Madi Okollo through Yumbe and entered Obongi.
Meanwhile Ismail Gift, the LC III chairman-elect for Obongi town council who participated in settling the case of the cattle destruction to crops told URN that the pastoralists have retreated to areas of Okubani between Obongi and Yumbe district. Ismail says the pastoralists have now resorted to grazing at night to avoid being noticed by the locals and end up destroying people’s crops.
However, Fungaroo Kaps Hassan, the Obongi MP says that the pastoralists are in the area to celebrate his defeat in the recent polls after he pushed for their departure when they first invaded the area. Fungaroo says they demand immediate action by the UPDF commander to act and send the pastoralists out of West Nile.