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Acholi leaders want access roads opened along porous Karamoja border

A boy herds cattle in Orom sub county, Kitgum district one of the areas frequently raided by Karimojong cattle thugs. Courtesy photo

Agago, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security personnel and local leaders from East Acholi have recommended the opening of access roads along porous border points with neighbouring Karamoja region to avert influx of armed Karimojong rustlers.

This follows the repeated influx of armed Karimojong cattle thieves from Kotido district through porous border points into community settlements within Kitgum and Agago districts.

Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech says lack of access roads along porous border points between Kitgum, Agago and Karamoja region has created a haven for the thugs over the years.

He says the borderlines are characterized by the long stretch of wilderness that gives conducive hiding grounds for the cattle thugs but inaccessible by army personnel for easing tracking.

Komakech cited that access roads between Adilang sub-county in Agago district to Orom sub-county in Kitgum district once opened during the war are currently inaccessible yet it’s one of the gateways used frequently by the cattle thugs.

Other access routes Komakech has recommended for opening are: 53 kilometres Labwor-dwong in Agago district through Longo dam to Kacheri in Kotido district and Tikao-Lubalangit road from Orom sub-county in Kitgum district to Karenga district.

He tasked the various district leaders to interest themselves in contributing to the road opening using the available funds disbursed by the government under Project for the Restoration of Livelihood in Northern Uganda-PRELNOR.

In Kitgum district, Orom and Namokora sub-counties have been a hotspot for cattle theft by suspected armed cattle thugs from Kotido district.

Jacob Amooti, the acting Resident District Commissioner Agago says although the vice has subsided recently due to heavy deployment of UPDF and LDU personnel, lack of access roads remains a barrier in tracking the criminals.

He says they are already in talks with the district local government on possibilities of opening up the access roads linking remote Odom village in Adilang sub county to Orom sub county in neighboring Kitgum.

Early this month, armed Karimojong cattle thieves raided Kurmegi village in Lukin parish, Omiya Pachwa sub-county and shot and injured the area LCI chairperson before looting cattle. The thugs were later shot dead after being pursued by UPDF and LDU.

Brig William Bainomugisha, the fifth Infantry Division Commander says the army will engage with the district leadership along the porous border points to ensure opening of access roads to allow for easy movement of soldiers. He particular pointed the opening of roads between Adilang to Longo dam and Orom hills and Akilok to Madi-opei in Lamwo district.

102 cattle and 11 goats have been looted from local farmers in Orom sub-county in Kitgum district since the beginning of the year while two people were killed by armed Karimojong cattle thugs in June this year.

In Agago district, Paimol sub county saw a high influx of the armed men who looted more than 70 cattle and injured six locals between April and June this year.

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