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Agago leaders demand heightened security to curb cattle theft

Agago, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Local leaders in Agago are demanding the deployment of UPDF soldiers in spots frequented by the Karamojong cattle rustlers. The request follows the increasing raid of animals in the last one month.

Kayanza Zanzibar Yamokolo, the LCV councilor of Lai-Muto town council says the Karamojong animal thieves have raided more than 500 goats and sheep from the town council within the last two weeks.

Yamokolo notes that there is a spot where the cattle rustlers pass through, no matter the location they raided animals from. He says the hotspot is between Kilel and Lutur, where they have severally requested for soldiers to be deployed.

Yamokolo says the areas most affected by the Karamojong attacks include all wards bordering Akwang, Katurukuk, Aloi, Lacua, and Ngora.

He says in Omiya Pacua, the Karamojong now open people’s doors at night and ask them to choose between keeping their animals and death.

Yamokol reveals that several hunters have also disclosed that the cattle raiders have a hideout in Kiri forest, which is at the border with Paimol sub-county.

He believes that the rustlers hide their guns in the forest because the number of guns among them seems not to be decreasing, despite the ongoing disarmament exercise in Karamoja.

Yamokolo also suspects that the women who migrated to the district within the last one month are acting as spies and sending back information about the availability and location of animals since many cattle owners don’t tether their animals during the dry season.

Matthew Obol, the LCV councilor for Lapono sub-county also requested for deployment of more soldiers to guard the animals of the community.

Obol says due to laxity by security, the locals are being forced to sleep in the kraal to protect their animals with crude weapons such as spears and bows and arrows, yet the Karamojong are armed with guns.

Obol fears that famine might hit the district because farmers cannot harvest the crops in their gardens and as well as start preparing their land early enough for the next planting season.

Suzan Akany, the RDC of Agago attributes the increasing animal raids by the Karamojong on the dysfunctional sub-county security committees. Akany reveals that they have already started reviving the security committees, which she believes will improve communication among the security personnel, and subsequently improve security.



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